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Seasoned dorm dweller advises newcomers

So here’s the real deal about living at the Cal State Long Beach dormitories from a person who for a long three years in the dorms has been there and done that. I’ve seen everything, trust me. So listen up!

Let me just say this: The dorms can either be a rewarding and revitalizing experience for first-timers or a horrific nightmare. Here are some tips to make it the former.

The key to living in any dormitory, CSULB’s being no exception, is to be flexible. I can’t stress this enough.

Many of you may be used to having your own room (I know I was) but come move-in day, you get to share all your space with someone else, usually a complete stranger. That’s where flexibility comes in.

You get your side of the room, and for the most part, your side of the room only. Make the most of it without offending your roommate.

And be nice to your roommate. Communicate, talk it out and maybe even hang out together. Things will go much smoother that way. I guarantee it.

Depending on which kind of household you’re used to, the dorms will most likely be the noisiest place you will have ever lived in. They’re not exactly battle zones, but sometimes they ought to be.

You’re gonna have to learn to deal with the noise, especially if you live in higher density buildings such as Los Alamitos and Los Cerritos. In those buildings, some 30 people live in a hallway.

Sure, there are rules and ordinances, but noise happens. I lived in Alamitos for three years and I can tell you first-hand things will get a bit noisy, and sometimes it’s unexpected and unwelcome.

When it does get bad, tough it out. Don’t go whine and complain to the Resident Assistant, the RA, immediately. If the noise happens day in and day out, then you have reason to complain.

Because the dorms are generally noisy places, it’s hard to get real work done there. Hardcore studying in the dorms is like trying to memorize Shakespeare in the middle of a mosh pit. While your neighbors are playing Xbox or watching a movie, it’s going to be very hard for you to study biology or write the next great American novel.

My advice is to go to the library, honestly. No place is better to study than the library, where distractions are few and your efforts to be distracted are futile.

And I don’t recommend using the so-called “study rooms” in the dorms because they are still within a short walk or earshot of your friends and fun – fun that shouldn’t be had when exams are the next day.

Now for the juicy part: alcohol and the dorms. Alcohol and most things related to it are not allowed, so know the risks of holding “dorm parties” now.

First off, don’t even think about trying to have a keg in your room. Not that I know from experience, but my first RA said it was a bad idea and he knew a lot of things.

With that said, a lot of kids will get “written up” for alcohol the first month now that they’re free from the control of parents and can fully participate in reckless abandon. If you’re one of those people, take the drinking off-campus and don’t drink too much.

Alcohol poisoning is very real and I’ve seen it happen to other people first-hand in the dorms. Don’t let your friends drink too much, on-campus or anywhere else.

With that, I say welcome to the dorms, first-timers.

Bradley Zint is a senior journalism and political science major and the managing editor of the Daily Forty-Niner.

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