Coming into my freshman year, I knew I wanted to live in a double. I wanted the extra storage and the dorm life that they show you in movies. I was prepared to have a bathroom down the hall that I would share with my floormates, and my one roommate and I would become best friends.
After I submitted my intent to register, I went on my school’s Facebook group and searched for a roommate. I ended up meeting a nice girl from the Dominican Republic and we both wanted to live in a double classic, the most basic type of dorm. We submitted our housing applications with that room type as our first choice.
Several days later, we got the news of our room assignment: a triple plaza with a private bathroom. We were both shocked: not only was the price higher, but we would now have an extra roommate. After a lot of searching, we found two girls who had the coveted double Classic (the vast majority of rooms at UCLA are triples, which I now know), but we ultimately decided against switching. We liked the fact that our new room had a private bathroom and AC, and we were willing to sacrifice our double for these benefits. So here's what I learned from living in a triple:
1. Learn to compromise.
All three of you will likely have very different living styles, and you are in a cramped dorm room. So, life is definitely not the way it was at home. For starters, you might not get the bed you want. You might not get the bottom bunk or single bed, and that’s OK. Unless you have an intense fear of climbing or a medical condition, a top bunk is absolutely fine and actually gives you some privacy.
2. Maximize storage.
There is a lot less storage space in a triple, so you have to learn to maximize it as much as possible. And I know your room at home may have a huge walk-in closet, but when living in a triple dorm, you have a lot less space and will ultimately have to leave a lot of items behind. So think twice before bringing that expensive dress you know you never wear.
3. Be flexible with your sleep schedule.
You will also have to adjust your sleep schedule and respect your roommates’ schedules. I tended to go to sleep around midnight in high school, but my roommates stayed up much later, so I ended up awake until two a.m. most nights. However, if one roommate insists on going to sleep at ten, you should be respectful and keep noise down. In addition, if you are an early bird and your roommates sleep until early afternoon, you should keep your alarm at a low level and get ready for class as quietly as possible.
4. Come up with a bathroom schedule.
You will also have to come up with a bathroom schedule if you have a private bathroom. It doesn’t have to be set in stone. For example, you can agree that no one takes more than twenty or thirty minutes to shower and get dressed (which is plenty of time). Since only one person may be able to use the bathroom at a time, you need to learn to share the space.
5. Be courteous.
In general, be respectful of your roommates. You are all in the same situation, and you should communicate as equals. Ask before having friends visit. Don’t bring a TV if your roommate isn’t cool with that. Don’t let your friends sit and/or eat on your roommate’s bottom bunk. Just be polite and respectful of one another.
The most important thing I learned living in a triple is that your roommates can become your closest friends. I loved laughing with my roommates late at night and giving each other our opinions on outfits and boys drama. We loved to study together and get meals with each other. Try to get to know the people you will be living with, and the rest will work itself out.
Lead Image Credit: Prayinto on Flickr