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Etiquette in the Residence Halls

Donna Lawrence

Freelance Writer

We are well under way in the school year; I have had several conversations about one topic in particular, dorm etiquette.  And more precisely, it is the lack of dorm etiquette among the Wesleyan sisterhood, which is the inspiration behind this article.  This article will be a review for some and enlightening to others  to resolve many of the issues among the sisterhood.  I have discovered doing research that this problem touches every facet of this campus.  This is my way of shedding some light and awareness of proper dorm etiquette.  This article will discuss three main areas of concern:  bathroom etiquette, dorm room etiquette, and roommate etiquette.

Bathroom Etiquette

Whether you are sharing a suite with an adjoining bathroom or have a floor bathroom.  Bathroom etiquette is important to all of us and necessary.   First, clean up after yourselves, no one wants to clean up your dirt and filth.  Make sure that if it was you coming in the bathroom after you finish you would want to.  Don’t leave dirty clothes or dirty towels in the bathroom for your dorm mates to have to endure – the smell or to clean for you.  Second, clean – it is not anyone’s responsibility to clean for you.  Our bathrooms are shared so clean them every time you get ready to use them.  Ladies make sure that you clean up the toilets when you finish them, there should be no toilet tissue on the floors, sinks or showers.  Check the toilet seats when you finish using them, make sure you haven’t left any unwanted packages for someone else to clean up behind you.  Clean all hair out of drains, off showers floors, and bathroom floors.  If you are doing your hair, make sure that you clean up and sweep up hair that you have put in these areas.  Lastly, make sure that you don’t leave any personal garbage in any common areas and when you discard it that you wrap it well and tie it up in a trash bag before you discard it in the community trash.  It goes without saying that is totally unacceptable to expect anyone other than you to clean up behind yourself when it is that time of the month.

Dorm room etiquette  

 Make schedules for the bathroom if you must share to get to class at the same time on the same day. If you are both working on homework, be quiet.  Don’t be a slob in the room throwing your clothes and shoes all over like this is your personal space, it is not.  Make sure that you don’t leave your dirty clothes out for your roommate to have to smell and endure.  Keep your dirty clothes in a place where they are out of sight and smell.  On the other hand, don’t be so rigid in your thinking that if your roommate side of the room gets a little messy that you have an attitude about it.  It will happen that we all get off schedule sometimes as long as it’s not a way of life, give them the benefit of the doubt. Even if you have a private room, you still have to share a bathroom or common areas with your dorm mates.  Honor quiet hours on your floors and try to be mindful that you share the halls with others.  Be mindful of your phone conversations that you keep them in your room and don’t get loud, I know for me this is hard sometimes; again be mindful of your neighbors on the floor.  Don’t cook in the kitchens food that is spicy and bad smelling in nature (for example, fish, curry , garlic and other spices, etc.)  that linger long after you finish cooking and drift to other floors.  Except for the weekends, it is really never acceptable to bring extended overnight guests.  It is not fair to your roommate to not be able to sleep in her bed comfortably because you constantly have someone visiting in yours, just saying!!!  Also, it is an honor code violation.   Even if you have private rooms and all of you are sharing the bathroom it is your responsibility to clean up and give your dorm mates the heads up that you are having company over and please file all necessary paperwork with the RA’s before your guest arrives to make sure that all is well.  If you have people visiting your room make sure that it is not done too much, where your roommates have to crawl over people to get into their own room.  It is not fair and it is not necessary.   You need to designate when you are having folks over to study or watch a movie and make sure that you keep your roommate in the loop and that she is in agreement.  Have fun and remember to be respectful of yourselves and others.

Roommate etiquette

The purpose for you being here is school and it must always take priority over all other activities.  First of all, talk to your roommate, sit down and discuss with your roommate what will work for both of you as roommates.  Don’t assume that you can do what you want and not consider them – you live together.  Discuss pet peeves and things that you don’t want to happen while you are living together and respect them. Be considerate of each other, in other words don’t come in at 1 a.m. on a Tuesday morning – loud, turning on lights when you know that your roommate has an 8:00 a.m. class.  It is important that you get along but you might not necessarily be friends but you can still have mutual respect for each other and be the best roommates.  Be flexible in your dealings with your roommates, your way may not be the only way.  Please make every effort to learn to settle your differences among yourselves; your RAs are a second line of defense.  You trying to handle your own issues yourself is the first.  You must learn to get along with your fellow students, faculty, and staff and you might as well start now.  Be mindful that we have many cultural and social differences, so don’t assume that your roommate understands where you are coming from, they might not.  It is your job to try to make sure that you both understand each other’s point of view and come to common ground.    And if you mess up and violate one of these rules, and you probably will, “I’m sorry “spoken from a sincere heart still goes a long way, maintains peace, and bridges the widest gaps.

I hope that this will help you in your college journey.  I hope that you have learned some new ideas and are reminded of others.  Enjoy your year and remember to exercise your etiquette.


About wesleyanword

The Wesleyan Word is the official student newspaper of Wesleyan College. Operated and produced by students, The Word is printed twice per month during the fall and spring semesters. Online editions are released every Wednesday throughout the school year. Wesleyan College is a 4-year private residential college for women in Macon, Georgia. Established in 1836, Wesleyan College is the first college in the world to charter degrees to women.


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