Written by Amanda Gault, '23

Take it from a professional overthinker, moving into a college dorm room can be intimidating at first. But it doesn’t have to be complicated! Living in a dorm gives you the perfect opportunity to build community and learn valuable skills. Here are ten dorm hacks that will have you ready to say “Hey MTV, and welcome to my crib!”

1) Take advantage of your online resources before move-in day.

Here are a few key ones:

  • Check out your dorm! An overview of Cumberlands dorms is available here.
  • Stay up to date on all campus events by following UC CAB (Campus Activities Board).
  • Download the academic calendar, so you know when you’ll be home for holiday breaks.
  • Check out the fun things to do in and out of the Burg with this video

2) Talk to your roommate.

Don’t have a roommate yet?

  • Join the Pats 2026 Facebook group! It’s the perfect place for incoming freshmen to get to know each other better and find a roommate who would be a good match.
  • Email the housing office at housing [at] ucumberlands.edu (housing[at]ucumberlands[dot]edu) with any questions you may have.
  • Once you find a roommate, go to your housing portal and get matched with a roommate.
  • If you are unable to find a roommate, you can choose to be paired with a random roommate.
  • Be on the lookout for important dates from the housing office so you know when you can choose a room.

What questions should you ask a potential future roommate? Their personal stance on: late nights vs. early mornings, earbuds vs. speakers, sharing food, sharing clothing, cleaning the room.

What questions should you ask your actual new roommate? If they have a microwave, fridge, TV, or other furniture they plan on bringing; if they care about color coordinating; and what gaming system(s) and kitchen utensils they plan on bringing.

3) Get creative with storage space…think tall!

Loft that bed. Stack those shelves (and place heavy things on the BOTTOM shelf). Buy those mugs that nestle perfectly inside each other. And come hang out with Kelsey, a campus ambassador, to see how she got creative with her dorm space.

4) Avoid clutter.

Bringing a few sentimental items from home is okay, but you’ll want to keep it very minimal. Less is more when it comes to college dorm rooms.

5) Brush up on microwave recipes.

You wouldn’t believe all the delicious snacks you can cook in a mug. My favorites are egg omelets, mug cakes, and mac ‘n cheese.

Pro tip: check to be sure your dishes are microwavable BEFORE you pack them.

Pro-pro tip: wipe the dish out immediately after eating, even if you don’t wash it right then. It keeps food from drying out and sticking to the dish, so washing it later on is much easier.

6) Personalize Your Room.

Whatever your personality, bring stuff that makes your dorm room feel like home. Your favorite band’s poster, the succulent you talk to sometimes because you just love it that much, the cozy blanket your mom gave you – whatever your special things are, bring them!

Come hang out with Lilli, a student athlete, and see how she personalized her space in Templeton-Adams Hall: (Fun fact: this dorm used to be the Cumberland Inn.)

7) Save the on-call number.

Every dorm at Cumberlands has a phone specifically for the resident assistant (RA) who is on call. If you lock yourself out of your room or have any kind of dorm emergency, you will need this number. Save it to your phone!

8) Get to know your RA (resident assistant).

Your RA is easily your best resource for any dorm-related questions. Before you even move in, you can contact an RA, and they’ll give you helpful advice. Their job is literally to help their residents. Get to know them!

9) Build community.

Every freshman is craving friendship when they move onto campus, which means it’s the perfect time to meet new people! Cumberlands makes it easy to build community within the dorm and on campus. Each dorm has weekly events that are fun and allow you meet new people.

10) Keep up with bulletin boards.

There are bulletin boards posted throughout the dorms and around campus. Check out the posters on them to find out about upcoming events. There are also TVs on campus with rolling ads for clubs and events, so take a minute every now and then to sit and watch them so you can stay up-to-date.