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Be Prepared: 4 Top Tips for Dorm Life—from a UCSB RA

Want to have the best dorm experience at UCSB? You can make it happen with these insider tips and suggestions from a UCSB resident assistant.

A great residence hall experience can kick-start your student career at UCSB. Here, UCSB Resident Assistant (RA) Maddy Searson gives you an insider’s guide to making the most of dorm life.

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1. Get involved in dorm programs

One of the best ways to enjoy the dorms is by going to activities and connecting with other residents.

“I wish I went to more programs in my first year,” Searson says. “Students can make the most out of living in the residence halls by attending programs and activities—that are put on for them and are free—by meeting people on their floors and in their halls, and by using the different amenities that residence halls offer.”

For example, activities like ice cream socials and stargazing are great ways to meet people. Residence halls also host free programs like movie nights, talent shows, pizza nights, BBQs, and 5K runs. And those amenities? Front desks have activities including board games and DVDs that residents can use for free.

2. Make your room yours—and well-defined

Your room isn’t really yours until you personalize your space.

“I personally like to pick out things that are my favorite colors to add to my room,” Searson says. She has also found that defining where each person should put their stuff is key, since space is limited.

“It is not easy sharing a room sometimes,” she explains, “but with defined boundaries on personal space, things run a lot smoother.”

3. Savor the perks of dorm life

Other perks to enjoy: the cleaning services (you don’t have to clean the bathrooms or the lounge yourself!) and the close proximity of friends. There’s always someone to hang out with, and that can give you a sense of community and family.

“Take advantage of your friends living so close,” Season says. “It won’t always be that easy.”

4. Pack light!

Searson was in a triple in her first year, and she says there was very little space for anything beyond the basics. “There was literally no room,” she says. “I wish I would have known to pack lighter!”

For packing tips, check out this list under “What Should I Bring?”

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