It’s 10:30 p.m. on a Thursday evening. You are halfway through your psychology paper hoping to be able to finish it so you can get to bed before midnight. But all of a sudden the people in the room next to you start blasting music. It’s not like you can say anything; it’s not quiet hours yet, but all you want to do is finish your paper by a decent hour.
You’ve been there; we all have. As the fall semester starts, students must get back into the routine of living with others, not just with roommates, but with dormmates as well.
While some are adjusting quickly, one group seems to be struggling: first-years. And the most common issue among this class? Laundry.
The clothes piles that stack up in our shared laundry rooms present a frequent challenge for students. Some loads stay in a machine for hours after the cycle has finished, which forces other students to take them out to make room for their own clothes. Some students are upset when their peers move their clothes, while others say that they are not obligated to wait for the clothes to be removed.
“Take them out… it’s your responsibility. Set a timer… [It’s] a waste of time if I have to wait on you,”Jessica Baniak, a first-year from West Lodge said.
So what can you do to make sure no one moves your clothes?
“The most helpful thing with laundry is to commit to the time it takes for your clothes to be washed and dried… Laundry often gets tampered with when it’s left unattended and taking up space in washers and dryers,” Lauren Burr, the associate director for residence life, said.
While it is not ideal to have someone else touch your belongings, washers and dryers are in short supply, so be courteous and remember: everyone has their own schedule and they may not have time to wait on you.
While laundry issues may be an easy fix, other etiquette problems are harder to deal with. Matters such as loud music, smoking, sidewalk parties and overall upstairs antics are more difficult to avoid. Some students are bothered by loud music during the day, while others say it’s just part of college life.
Students like Baniak on the second floor of West Lodge feel like they shouldn’t have to adjust their behavior just because they live upstairs, while students below feel like their peers are not conscious enough of their downstairs neighbors.
Burr and her colleagues remind students to be “direct and clear” about issues that bother you, but not passive aggressive. The last thing you want to do is to cause friction with the people you have to share a space with. A good rule is to compare your living situation with a hotel. If you wouldn’t scream playing video games or jump up and down on the top floor in a hotel, don’t do it in your dorm.
Finally, don’t be afraid to say something. It’s quite possible your neighbors don’t realize how loud they’re being. And if you feel like you have been polite and people are still ignoring you, talk to your RA.
“Be mindful of quiet hours, but also respect that our residence halls are where people rest and study so you should be mindful of noise at all hours of the day,” Burr said.
That being said, if you are informed repeatedly that the people around you are bothered by your actions, be aware of it and make an effort to adjust your behavior to create a respectful, happy community for both you and your neighbors.