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  • Writer's picturelennoxmorganoffici

Moving into a Dorm

How does it feel to move back into a dorm room at 26? After 7 years of living on your own?

When I first decided to go back to Uni after graduating in 2017 (and getting an online degree in 2020), I immediately knew that I wanted to get an apartment. So I started my adventure of searching for a place to live, in an apartment, close to the city center, and close to the university. I found a few places that I really really liked and some that I absolutely loved. I reached out to numerous agents handling those properties to see how I could go about applying for the units.


Unfortunately, in the UK, it's very uncommon to sign a lease with an individual who hasn't seen the unit in person beforehand. Unlike in America, where you can apply for an apartment without seeing it first, in the UK, you have to meet the landlord and see the unit in person before you can apply for the unit. This became tricky for me because I was still in the USA when looking for these units. And I refused to leave the USA without having a forwarding address.

So, my only option was to find student housing. There were only a few that I found and only one that I kind of liked. So I applied for it and I picked a room and signed the documents. I had super mixed feelings about it. I felt way too old to be living in a home where I was sharing walls with multiple people, sharing kitchens with multiple people, and sharing cleaning practices and safety practices with multiple people. This was less than ideal for me since I have a high standard of cleanliness and safety.


Part of me felt like I was going to have to be the mother of the unit because I was probably going to be the oldest of the bunch. I was probably the most proficient in cleaning, setting boundaries, cooking, and grocery shopping. I felt like I was going to have to clean up after everyone, do the dishes, enforce cleanliness rules, and take out the trash while everyone else just did what they wanted to do. This was not what I wanted to happen. I didn't want to be responsible for grown adults living.

Part of me, however, felt excited. I wanted to be the mom so that I could control situations. I wanted to have some controlling aspects of the cleaning or taking turns. I wanted to be with people to immerse myself in their culture and have “built-in friendships” for the year that I was going to be there. I felt like this was a good way of meeting more people, more diverse people. I was excited to gather everyone and go drinking with them or host “Family meal” nights where we all sit down and eat together and learn about each other.


So when I moved in, I was excited to know that I was the first one there. I bought cleaning supplies, I bought trash bags, I bought sponges and soaps for the kitchen, I bought cutlery, and broom, and dustpan to sweep and clean. Then I waited and waited. I started to enjoy the fact that I had everything to myself and I made myself at home. I became comfortable being the only one to walk through the entry door so that I always knew when the door was locked. I enjoyed being able to sweep my room out into the hallway without any consequences. I enjoyed leaving the knife in the sink for 3 hours before cleaning it.


But at last, someone moved in and I started hating it. They were loud. I mean, so loud. I know that the walls of the room were thin but tell me why this person was hammering into his wall at 1 AM! Tell me why this man was screaming at a game at 2:30 a.m.! He was slamming doors and being loud all throughout the night. I am a deep sleeper so if I wake up in the middle of the night, you just know that you're being loud. SO LOUD.

I have mixed feelings about moving into a dorm. I feel way too old to be doing this. But I like the people I have met so far and the amenities of the complex are pretty nice as well. Every day I flip on whether it's positive or negative about me being here. I couldn't tell you.


UPDATE:

Let me tell you what. I probably wrote this post my first week being in the UK and living in a dorm. I was still living out of a carry-on suitcase and I had no idea how bad it was going to be. Living in a dorm room was an absolute disaster!


You don't really know how much freedom you have while living on your own. You develop such a specific tolerance while living in your own apartment. But when you have to share a lot of your space with other strangers you don't really know, it becomes hard. The kitchen always smelt terrible and it was always so dirty. Trash was piled up on the floor with the trash cans. My final straw was when I found a whole chicken skeleton on the floor as if people were trying to piece together the entire chicken. I bought a crockpot and started cooking in the dorm room. Food became really old really quickly.

The kitchen situation wasn't great but it was manageable. The real issue started in January when this girl moved in across the hall from me. She was so obnoxious. She started throwing trash at my door, hanging dirty or wet laundry on my door, constantly knocking on my door, and running away like we weren't in a tiny hallway. The noise she was bringing in was absolutely unbearable. She would throw these elaborate parties in the common room for all her friends. At 3 a.m., people were parting and yelling at “Alexa” to play the entire Beyonce album. When I pounded on the wall to notify them that they were being too loud, they punched a hole through the wall. Did they continue to be loud? Absolutely!


I would always make a complaint or call the on-campus police to notify them. Then nothing would get done and they would continue to be so noisy and loud and obnoxious. I stopped sleeping so I practically moved in with my boyfriend's family because that was the only way that I could sleep because they were so noisy. So I moved out in March, 6 months before my lease ended. And my oh my, it is bliss never having to step foot back into that dorm room. I have learned my lesson. I will not be doing that again.


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