Student housing

Although by definition community college implies attending a school that's close to home, you don't necessarily have to rule out the residence option. Many students desire their independence while still keeping the ties to their home, family and community. Residences can provide this combination of freedom and fun, and also some structure and order to make the transition out of your parents' home a little easier.

Adjusting to dorm life can be a little overwhelming in the beginning - new faces, new walls and the freedom (and responsibility) to take care of yourself. For many, the adjustment to sharing a small space with other students is the most difficult challenge. A number of different hazards may crop up - here, we'll show you them and also give you tips on how to cope:

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Problem 1: The Schedule Conflict

It's inevitable - when you put more than two students together in one living space, they are bound to run on different schedules. So your roommate's a late-night partier but you've got an 8:30 class? Or maybe you're the night owl cramming for next day's test while the person sharing your bedroom calls for lights out. The important thing to remember when you're sharing your space is that you all have to be respectful - compromise on a time to turn the stereo off, or move your study session to the living room. Keep quiet when you know someone will appreciate it, and keep the fun stuff for when you can all be on board. Communicate any problems in the beginning, and the resolutions will be that much easier to find.

Problem 2: Space

It's possible that in your parents' house you had more than enough space - in the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. Unfortunately, in dorm life you have multiple individuals sharing common areas, not one cohesive family. Again, the solution here is all about compromise - establish rotating schedules for who buys items you all use, such as toilet paper and ketchup, to keep your cupboard and fridge space functional. Keep your mess limited to your bedroom area, and if you share that too, keep it to your side of the room. Be prepared to share everything, from space at the sink to the comfiest living room chair. But remember, you can still have your privacy - letting a roommate know you need some space to yourself for a bit is definitely within your cohabitation rights. Just be sure to be flexible on the location.

Problem 3: Distraction (The sum of problems 1 and 2!)

One of the greatest challenges in communal living is dealing with constant distractions - someone is always coming and going, and chances are they are doing it in your space! While it's fun and easy to get caught up in the action, if you don't want your schoolwork to suffer, you need to have a backup plan - scope out areas around campus where you can hit the books in peace. The library is an obvious choice, but designated on-campus study areas or the grounds outdoors can also provide a little tranquility. Making the most out of your study time will give you ample opportunity to get back and join your dorm-mates in the action.

Don't forget - one of the major benefits of attending a school that's close to home is you can always go back when dorm life becomes too overwhelming! Your parents will certainly be anxious to see you, and you can take advantage of the cooking, the washer and dryer, and the sanctuary of your old bedroom until you're ready to head back to life on campus.

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