The First Night

Your dorm will probably have a first-night orientation or social event to welcome you to school. Show up to this—and all—dorm meetings: you’ll get to know the people on your floor and you’ll make friends quickly.


Unpack as much as you can when you arrive but not at the expense of socializing and meeting other people in the dorm. If you can find your bathroom products and your jammies, you’re in good order for the evening.

Make sure to put these items on top of everything else you pack.

  • Toothbrush
  • A framed photo from home
  • Toiletries
  • Flip-flops (for the shower)
  • Sheets and bedding
  • Pajamas
  • Snacks
  • Undergarments
  • Next day’s clothes
  • Orientation schedule

When you unpack, try to take up only the space allotted to you. You won’t score any points with your roommates if you impose on their space. Using stackable crates or stacking plastic bins makes unpacking easy. Get your stuff out of the trash bag and into the bins, and then you can run out for pizza with those cute guys/girls who just moved in across the hall.

Finding a Friend

Finding an ally is important. It will help to settle you and is simply more fun than going it alone. Classes haven’t started yet, so your social life should be your top priority.

Leaving your dorm room door wide open (with you inside) is a great way to meet people. Students will mill about in the halls, and everyone will mix and mingle in one another’s rooms. Many students leave their doors open all the time—this is a typical “college” thing to do.

Most dorms also have a common room where you can hang out, talk, read, and have snacks. Check out the common room on your first night. Other first years will be doing the same. The common room is also a great place to bring a board game, which gives you an opportunity to ask someone to play with you. Once a board game gets going, others will want to join in.

The Dining Hall

The dining hall is a great place to meet classmates and make new friends. You’re bound to see a recognizable face from the dorm sitting at a table. Don’t be shy, and don’t sit alone.

If you simply can’t muster up the courage to sit with someone you don’t know, then sit with a few empty seats around you. Chances are that someone will join you. One quarter of the people around you are first years, and if you’re in a first-years’ dining hall, they’re going through the same nerve-racking experience.

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