Chores: In College vs. At Home (ft. potential dorm life hints)
As I type this, I'm watching my little sister vacuum the carpet of our room.
"Let me know if you need help, okay?"
"I've got it." The vacuum, one of those octopus-like ones that stretches a mile to the wall plug-in, dwarfs her. She missed a spot. I'll tell her later.
Chores are a part of college life I haven't yet covered. While it's pretty basic, this return to home has reminded me of the difference between home chores and the college variety. In case you're wondering about the expectations for your first time living away from home, this post is for you!
Chores at home can vary widely, depending on where you live, whether you are distressingly untidy during finals week like myself, what your routine is, etc. But from what I can tell, chores are pretty similar across our dorms.
At Dartmouth, your living situation can vary depending on whether you're living in a single (one person in one room), a one- or two-room double (two people in one or two rooms), a two-room triple (two rooms for three people, the perfect setup for some really fun sleepovers!) or a suite. Personally, I'm in a two-room double, so my roommate and I each have a room to ourselves but our doors are joined, and to access the hallway she has to walk through my room and politely listen to whatever music I happen to be playing at the time (overwhelmingly country.) It's a lot of fun!
Whatever the living layout, the chores are pretty standard. If you're coming from a boarding-room situation or a family who likes to look in your room to ensure it's tidy, don't worry—there's no chore curfew, and you're welcome to attend to yours whenever and at whatever capacity suits you.
At home, my family goes through lots of dishes, so I'm no stranger to Dawn soap bubbles and snapping dish towels.
At school, I tend to make my own coffee (dorm coffee pot: highly recommend!) and meals when possible, so I accumulate a few dishes each day. (But only a few!) The amount of time I spend doing dishes per day rarely tops ten minutes, and you don't have to do any at all if you eat at the cafeterias, which have lots and lots of delicious options. Even so, I'd recommend picking up a small bottle of dish soap, a couple sponges, and a dish towel for school. While your dorm's kitchen tends to be pretty well equipped with kitchen supplies, it's always nice to have a little stash for midnight mug-cleanings.
At school, dorm rooms generally are carpeted. Sweepable, but not if you want to look cool. (Yes, that's my broom). You don't need to purchase a vaccum, but I recommend knowing where one is, on the off chance you spill a sleeve of Saltines on your carpet because you opened the box upside down. The custodian's closet in your residential hall almost certainly has one you can use. Personally, my roommate and I got ours for $5 at the yearly "Sustainability Sale," at which upperclassmen who no longer need storage bins, vacuums, cabinets, mirrors, and other fun things sell them for incredible bargains to whomever has use for them. It's a really fun and really popular tradition—shoutout to my roommate, who got in line early in the morning in order to score us the cute red vaccuum.
College students are notoriously fretted over for not being able to do their laundry. Obviously, this isn't true, but there are a few things that make laundry a simpler and more efficient process while you're away.
I had to adjust to the slightly different college laundry process (mostly the vague insult of walking down the hall with my laundry bag hung over my shoulder like Santa Claus, a problem only I seem to suffer from). Dorm basements are equipped with their own laundry rooms, so there's no need to run through the snow to switch the wash. It's really convenient; you tote your little bag down to the laundry whenever it suits you, load your wash, use your student ID card to pay for the load ($1.50 per washer cycle and dryer cycle, so typically a sum total of $3.00 - $6.00 per week for laundry), and let the bubbles begin!
What to bring: Laundry basket/bag (I'd recommend a bag, as it makes carrying easy and you can throw the bag itself into the laundry every week to keep it cute) a bottle of detergent, and dryer sheets if you like. Dartmouth also gives you the option to sign up for a laundry service instead which collects, washes, and returns your laundry regularly throughout the term.
- Grocery shopping
Okay, most people don't actually do this. If you're on a meal plan, there's no need for it. That said, I like to go with a smaller meal plan and budget for groceries, because it allows me to cook my favorite dishes in between delicious cafeteria trips.
If you are so inclined, the Hanover Co-op is a sweet, well stocked grocery store less than a mile from campus. It's a beautiful walk and there's also a bus that can turn the fifteen minutes into barely five. It's an excellent place to stock up on snacks, which as far as I am concerned are a must, and things like tea and hot cocoa which are simpler to get in the middle of the night from the comfort of your dorm.
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From the pandemic to the election, to online learning, every month seemed to be a new level of Jumanji. However, we have made it. And though 2020 has given me great lessons and experiences, I am looking forward to this new year and for what it holds.