It’s very easy to say that you cannot wait to move out. …But the actual moving out process? Not so much. Adjusting to new surroundings is a challenge, especially after getting used to being alone or just living with your family. Admit it or not, this set-up is now your comfort zone.
Well now, with easing protocols, universities are reopening for face-to-face classes. And commuting is harder than ever, …so renting a dorm near your university probably sounds like the best option. Living life away in a dorm is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. You will definitely learn a lot. A LOT. Yes, it might sound scary at first but we promise you, it is FUN. It will definitely be the best time of your life.
But, it will only be exciting if you find the right dorm for you. Signing up for the wrong unit and then deciding to transfer somewhere else after a couple of weeks isn’t cheap. Plus, it’s a huge hassle — especially when you’re also contending with learning the ropes at university. So you better know the answers to these questions before you sign that contract!
How far is the dorm to your college building? On what floor will you be?
Getting a unit on a higher floor would give you the best city view and who wouldn’t want that? Well, just make sure that there is a working elevator, or else, you would have to climb up and down the stairs every single time. You would not want to look haggard in your morning classes nor have your leg day every day. Also, it could be a cause of delay if you wake up a bit late. Remember that the purpose of getting a dorm is to lessen the time and hassle of attending your classes.
Pro tip: THE CLOSER, THE BETTER. Make sure you get a dorm that is within walking distance, a good five-minute walk is good enough to get that energy flowing every morning. Taking several jeepneys/tricycles Riding a jeepney or tricycle to get to school defeats the point of your dorm.
Who are you going to live with for the rest of your stay there?
Living with total strangers is a make-or-break. It is pretty terrifying to be with someone you do not know but sometimes, it could turn out to be great. The question is: are you willing to take the risk? Well, we still think that it is better to have your bestie with you or find a blockmate you could live with. It is more comfortable to hang out with someone you can trust. It is also good if you find a classmate willing to be with you. You would be getting a college friend and study buddy in one! Talk about a great deal, huh?
Be wise in picking the right person/s, they could be a blessing or a complete disaster.
Pro tip: FIND THE RIGHT BALANCE OF PEACE AND CHAOS. Aim only for 2 to 4 persons per unit. Dealing with more people is a bit disadvantageous, just think about the bath schedule every morning…outrageous.
Does it have a gym, pool, and a quiet study area?
College is hard. Moving to a new place is harder. There are times that it could get overwhelming so it is important to find a hobby and a sanctuary when life gets too much. The majority of dorms in Manila have gyms, pools, and study areas and these will help you keep sane. Run on a treadmill for an hour when deadlines make you anxious. Swim your heart out if you fall in love with a blockmate. Study hard to get that uno. Find a diversion!
Pro tip: GET MOVING. Staying inside your unit is not therapeutic at all. It is better to work and study in a different spot to get your mind going. Treat your unit as a place where you just rest, nothing more and nothing less. It’s also hard to focus there if your roommates are busy doing their own things.
What can I eat? Where can I get the best and sulit deals? Are foodpanda and Grab available here?
You would not want to get hungry! Check restaurants and cheap eats nearby. You need to fuel yourself with good food to survive college. But, there will always be times when you have to ~economize~ so you better have your options ready. Treasure your weekly allowance and do not spend it right away, you wouldn’t want to get samgyup on a Monday then fish balls on Wednesday. Splurge strategically!
Pro tip: CARINDERIA IS THE KEY. Apart from being affordable, they are also tasty! Home-cooked meals are just unbeatable. Reserve your unlimited chicken wings, samgyup, and milktea cravings when you have huge exams. It tastes better after a long day…it’s like a reward.
How safe is it to walk at night? Is there a guard on duty 24/7?
Your class schedule may vary every term. Some professors would ask for make-up classes during ungodly hours (yup, it’s true and cruel). Also, there will be times that you would be going out with your friends and you would be going home late…or early in the morning. The streets are not safe, especially for women. Make sure that there is security around the dorm who can monitor your safety. There are also dormitories where you would need to follow a curfew so you better know the rules before you sign up!
Pro tip: BEFRIEND SECURITY GUARDS. Not only that they would act as your second parents but would entertain you with their endless stories. Share a cup of coffee and talk about life. It’s the best!
What are the unit’s features? Is the unit bare or fully furnished? What appliances and furniture are available? Is the water pressure fine? Can I cook?
You should be wise in picking the right dorm for your budget and convenience. If you are from afar (let’s say, Cebu) and you chose a bare unit, are you willing to buy everything (from aircon to cabinets)? Or are you willing to take them on your flight to Manila? Evaluate what’s the most practical thing to do. Yes, bare units are way cheaper but are they worth the hassle? Discuss the contract with your landlady. Make sure you understand the rules on electric and water consumption and what date these are due. Get to know whether pets, visitors, and cooking are allowed. You wouldn’t want your landlady banging on your door on a Monday morning because she smelled you were cooking sinigang.
Pro tip: 15K TO 25K UNITS ARE THE BEST DEALS. Most of these units are already equipped with everything you need – from microwaves to mattresses, all you need to bring is yourself…and some clothes, of course. Do not get shocked because the price would be divided by how many people you are sharing the unit with.
What are you willing to share with your roommates? Do you want to share your food or not? Are you buying toothpaste together or a big NAUR?
Well, you have to set your boundaries. Privacy is not really a thing if you decide to live with many people and sharing is going to be the norm. Make sure to talk things out with your roommate/s so neither abuse one another. Decide whether you are sharing with food expenses or not. If so, what are you willing to chip in? Also, make an agreement on splitting cabinets, study tables, and appliances. Set your limits before it’s too late.
Pro tip: BRING AS LITTLE AS YOU CAN. Grab every storage bin you could see in stores and put a label and your name on it. It’s not being selfish, it’s being organized and safe. Protect your valuables because you will never know…especially if the unit you got allows random visitors to enter.
Are you patient enough to live with someone? Or does it sound like you just want to get a solo unit? Either way, you need to gear up with tons of patience.
Moving to a different place with different people requires a lot of work. The first weeks would be the hardest as you are leaving your comfort zone. It is like you would be put in a circus and everything is just too much. But do not get discouraged, you would need some slaps and jabs to get you stronger than ever. You will discover a new side of yourself and will definitely learn a lot. It will teach you to become independent and self-sufficient and practical and…well, the list goes on and on and you would know it sooner or later. We would not spoil it for you. It’s gonna be a good ride, it’s gonna be okay!
Pro tip: JUST DO IT. You would thank yourself later.
Well, we wish you growth in this endeavor, freshie. Enjoy and keep sane!