Everything you wanted to know about the dorms

Generally, the first things to greet the average freshman on his or her arrival to NIU aren’t a professor or a classroom, they’re an RA and a dorm room.

This is an important piece of information to keep in mind, because the dorm tends to become the center of life for the average freshman. Some people might disagree with this statement, but considering your dorm is where you’ll eat and sleep for the next year, it’s a little hard to avoid.

Having just finished a two-year sentence in Douglas, I feel this makes me something of an authority on the matter and allows me the liberty to impart some much-needed advice on this year’s new inmates. So, without further ado …

1. The RA is always right. Even when all evidence points to the contrary, the dorm director will reassure you that RA’s can do no wrong.

2. Although you must follow the rules for quiet hours, this does not apply to your RA.

3. Stick a fork in it before you eat it. If it bleeds take it back.

4. You can get written up during quiet hours for bodily noises heard more than two doors down.

5. If it’s not strictly cited as a privilege in the guidebook, you can’t do it.

6. If it’s illegal, keep it in the fridge.

7. If you live in the towers and are not on the top floor— beware. Many things may hit your window when you open it on warm days.

8. Every day in the dorm is a warm day. It may be twenty below outside, but shorts are a year-round necessity.

9. Floor meetings are always held at a convenient time—for the RA.

10. They’re not residence halls, they’re dorms!

11. Avoid crazy 23-year-olds who’ve been living in the dorms since the dawn of time.

12. Beware of what may lie on the bathroom floor.

13. Cold cereal is a good substitute for cafeteria dinners.

14. Don’t try to study in the lounge.

15. If you don’t open your door, you will NOT meet anyone.

16. You CAN get written up for having an attitude, but don’t forget you can write your RA up for harassment. (Yes, this is from personal experience.)

17. If you’re going to penny in the RA don’t forget to swipe his phone cord first.

18. There’s a fine for practically everything, so don’t forget to flush the toilet.

19. Don’t go home every weekend! Stick around. Get a life.

20. Floor mixers are fun if you don’t get caught.

21. Parking lots? What parking lots?

22. Speaking of parking, y’know it’s kind of interesting that faculty members are getting their own parking deck but the dorm rats aren’t even getting the gravel lots paved. But hey, at least the administration thought of you when they decided to raise the price of parking “service” permits.

23. Any list over 22 items long is not worth reading.

24. There you go, you’re already ignoring my advice. I guess you’re in for a long, long year.

25. Remember that the experience you have is what you make it. There’s a lot of things about the dorms which really do suck (see list above) but there are some really cool things and some really cool people to find out about. The people you meet in the dorms—most often but not always your floormates—are a lot of the same people you’ll know through the rest of your college career and some of them you’ll even know for the rest of your life. And there are a few RA’s and senior staff who are actually decent people even though the majority of them are mind-dead zombies. So what if the place is like a Gestapo-run prison; it’s your prison so make the most of it.