Tech Students Offer Tips on Surviving Dorm Life

Huge classes, new city, tons of homework. The first year at college can be tough enough without worrying about how you're going to get along in your tiny palace with your roommate from some town you've never heard of. So, to help make life easier for the throngs of students who will descend on university residence halls this fall, we asked a totally unrepresentative sample of Georgia Tech students to give us their tips on how to survive life in the dorms.

1. Before you even get to school, call your roommate. Find out what he or she is bringing. You don't want to be stuck in a room with two stereos, two TV's and two refrigerators (or, maybe you do). Most of all, get to know them. Find out about their like and dislikes and what you have in common. A little courtesy at the beginning can go a long way.

2. Set up some ground rules. Figure out what you can tolerate and what will drive you out of your mind. Work out what's fair to share and what's off limits before you get mad about your roomie borrowing your iPod. Talking about the rules before-hand may seem like a downer, but it'll help you avoid some of the those nasty arguments in the future.

3. Learn each other's habits and rhythms. Find out if he's a night or a morning person and develop some ground rules so you can both sleep and party when your body says it's time.

4. If a problem does arise, talk to them about it (are you sensing a theme here?) before complaining to everyone else on your hall. Often, people aren't always aware that they're being an inconsiderate jerk.

5. Devise a communication system to avoid those embarrassing walk-ins when you're with a date. A sock on the door, or an index card in the door jamb can alert your roommate that you're otherwise engaged.

6. Invest in some earplugs. Residence halls are loud places. And plugging in before bedtime is a lot easier than going upstairs for the sixth time to ask those metal heads to turn down their Ozzfest.

7. Kick the snooze alarm habit. There's nothing more annoying than living with a roommate who sets her alarm for 6 a.m. only to hit snooze every 10 minutes for an hour.

8. Throw a hall party with your neighbors. Another fast way to make friends, hall parties can be a great way to meet people from other floors. Setting up one room as a disco, another as the bar and another as a game room can turn your hall into a mini club.

9. Most of all, lighten up. College is all about new people and experiences, so if everything's not exactly the way you want it, c'est la vie. Learning to live with annoyances now will make it easier on you when you get out into the real world.