Updated: Nov 3, 2020
We get it, moving to college is a completely different experience. As cliche as it sounds, this is a time where you are going to be completely independent, with no parent or authority figure to guide you through every little step or even tell you how to behave. As upperclassmen, we have met a fair share of people that are barely learning simple things - such as how to do laundry, or cook, or clean - and that’s totally fine. However, what’s not fine is being completely oblivious to others and continuously repeating actions that simply are done to only annoy others and showcase how much of an a**hole you really are. Here we have compiled a list of things not to do in order to not be THAT person that ruins it for everybody else, and in general easy tips we think might be helpful.
Laundry etiquette = SET A TIMER FOR YOUR STUFF
Setting a timer for when your laundry will be done is the biggest tip we can give. Even better, set the timer for a couple minutes BEFORE your stuff is done so that you have some time to get to the laundry room. Many of the dorms and/or apartments have very little washers and dryers that must be shared for the WHOLE building. Keep in mind that you won’t be the only one who needs to do laundry. Otherwise, you risk having someone else take out your clean clothes and placing it on an unclean surface. You’re being rude to others that need to use the space.
On the other side, DON'T BE AFRAID TO MOVE SOMEONE'S CLOTHES IF ITS DONE AND THEY HAVEN'T ARRIVED. If you have noticed that it's been more than a few minutes and they have not shown up, don’t be afraid to move their stuff. It’s their own fault for not setting a timer and not being more mindful and respectful. However, maybe don't be a total jerk and just dump them on the floor, there are tables and chairs in most dorm laundry rooms, or even placing them on top of the dryers is reasonable.
Don’t leave dirty clothes laying around the laundry room. Just don’t leave anything lying around anywhere if it’s not supposed to be there. These rooms are cleaned by the building maintenance staff and we don’t need to be making extra work for them.
Don’t leave your laundry products unattended, people will steal them. We highly recommend using tide pods, that way you can just take a certain amount of them, and leave the rest in your room.
Don’t take up too many washers/dryers. Again, there are other people that need to use them as well!!
Do your laundry really early or really late in order to avoid “traffic”.
Overall, be mindful that others need to use this area and respect the space, particularly because you’re not the one cleaning it.
Bathroom etiquette (ESPECIALLY if it’s a shared bathroom you’re NOT CLEANING)
You’re not the one cleaning it. That’s basically the bottom line. Building staff in the dorms work very hard daily to keep these common areas clean. You don’t need to make their job harder by leaving toilet paper all over the floor of the bathroom or toothpaste in the sink. If you make a mess, clean it up. It’s just respectful and it’s really really gross to everyone else that has to use the same bathrooms as you. Guys, aim when you pee, we know you can do it. Ladies, make sure sanitary products are properly disposed of.
Make sure you’re also not leaving things everywhere. Particularly living in the dorms, take everything with you back to your room. No one is going to run behind you picking up after you, so you need to keep shared spaces like the bathroom clean. This is where a caddy can come in handy. All your stuff will fit in it, and you can easily move everything you need from your room to the bathroom. That way you keep your things clean and organized.
Wear flip flops, people are gross.
Do not be intimidated, EVERYONE POOPS, and trust us no one cares, just do your business and clean up after yourself. If you really worry, perhaps consider buying poo pourri (or something similar).
Don't stand in front of the doors. If the bus is packed (and who knows if any bus will ever be packed again) and you have no choice but to stand in the doorway, you need to find a way to step aside to let people on/off at the stops. Even if that means you have to step off the bus (trust us, you’ll find space to get back on if you step off real quick).
A big part of it is (again) being mindful of others. If people are standing and your bag is on the seat next to you, I’m sure someone would appreciate it if you moved it. Be aware of the space you take up and the space you need, and give others the space they need. Especially in the era of COVID-19, it’s not a good idea to be all up on anyone anyway (Unless it’s the only silver going to PAR in the past half hour and everyone is cramming on).
Always move to the back of the bus!! Especially, if the buses are filling up, there is space not being used because people refuse to move to the back of the bus. It’s not that hard, just move.
Download a bus app (such as ‘Illini Bus’) to know when the buses are coming, and if you’re new, these apps help you recognize which buses are near certain stops.
Pick up after yourself. There are no waiters, there are no busboys, there are no moms to take your plate for you. If you’re dining in the dorms and you have finished, take your dishes to the designated area, and your trash to the trash. Some dining halls have instructions on how to separate utensils, trash, and plates/cups. Follow the instructions, they’re there for a reason.
Don’t leave a mess at the table. In the dining halls, student workers walk around cleaning tables. Again, why would you want to make their job harder than it needs to be? If you spill some juice, just clean it up. If you drop rice, do your best to pick it up. It’s the respectful thing to do.
Having a meal plan with the University allows you to have access to all the dining halls, don’t be afraid to have dinner in different places.
Don’t be afraid to eat alone, you don’t have to be with a huge group of friends each meal, normalize spending time alone.
Addressing Instructors/ Email etiquette
You quickly come to realize that many professors and faculty members are NOTHING like the ones from high school. Many are very chill and treat you like the adults we all are (or are becoming), and it can get really easy to reflect this in the way we address them. Or on the other hand, some people might still be intimidated with addressing instructors/ faculty members. Regardless, it’s very important to keep in mind that dynamic and understand that you may be completely cool with some professors, but you must still learn to properly email them and other colleagues.
Don’t be afraid to call a professor/faculty by their first name, many may actually prefer it, and they establish this right away. If you're not sure, its better to err on the side of caution and address them as "Professor ___" or "Dr./Mr./Mrs./Miss."
In emails, always start with a greeting (a simple “Hi, ___” or even “Good morning __”)
In emails, always state your name/ introduce yourself if you're emailing someone for the very first time.
In emails, keep your message straight to the point, and always end with a sign-off.
Overall, always be mindful and respectful of those around you. Live by the golden rule we learned in kindergarten: don’t do to others what you don't want done to you. This applies to every space you enter at the University and beyond.