The Freshman’s Guide to Living in a Dorm


Rebecca Munday

The wall of dryers in the east wing of Windward Commons

Over the summer the Our House Newsletter covered topics such as how to get along with your roommate, ways to build your resume, a guide to Eagle Express and two distinct articles with tips to succeed in your first semester of college.

However, there is one topic that the newsletter didn’t cover: the basics of living in a dorm room.

New freshmen living on their own for the first time may not have a clue how to do laundry or submit a work order when the plunger doesn’t fit in the toilet or the refrigerator starts freezing their food.

The basics of doing laundry seem self explanatory, but it’s one of those tasks where if you miss a small step, you can ruin your laundry. For that reason, the company that made the washers and dryers in the laundry room also provided instructions.

  1. Fill the washer, but be careful not to overflow it past the top of the agitator, or the white cylinder in the center of the washing machine because overfilling the machine can damage the clothes.
  2. Add detergent, but never more than a ¼ of cup if it’s liquid detergent. If you use detergent pods, add them directly to the washer with the clothes instead of in the dispenser. Never use 3-in-1 laundry sheets or powder detergent.
  3. Select the settings: soil, fabric and temperature. Unless you were rolling around in the mud or have to wash something delicate, the default settings of cold, normal and light work for most loads.
  4. Push start. On the default settings, the cycle takes about a half an hour.

Once the washer is finished, you should take your clothes out of the washer before they dry in the washer; they will get messed up if you leave them in there too long and others need to be able to use the washer.

Then, you can load the dryer with the clothes you took out of the washer. You should not put more than one load of wash in the dryer at a time.

Before you choose the temperature on the dryer, make sure you clean the lint filter. It is a fire hazard if you do not do that before every load.

Then, select your temperature and press start. The cycle takes an hour.
Make sure to come get your clothes within 20 minutes of the cycle finishing so they don’t end up in the bin with all the unwanted clothes that people left in the dryer too long.

If you find mildew in your room or your refrigerator does not keep your food at the right temperature or your door sill, the piece of rubber that separates the carpet from the vinyl, comes off, it’s time to submit a work order.

To do this, go to and go to the main housing website, which can be found using the search bar in the top right corner. Once you are there, you will find six circular pictures that link to different parts of the housing website.

Click on the fourth one that says “Submit a Work Order,” choose your campus and your residence hall. Freshmen living on the Armstrong campus will choose Windward Commons located under Armstrong campus.

The next screen will ask you to fill out your name, your email address, your phone number, your building, your unit number (e.g. 189W or 111E), your room number (e.g. A or B), the category of the request, the subcategory of the request and a description of the problem. 


Sample maintenance request form

If you cannot figure out how to categorize your maintenance request, choose the category and subcategory that is most closely related to the problem. The more important information is the description of the problem.

With as much detail as you know to give, describe the problem. If you are present when the maintenance personnel arrives, they will ask for further information.

The last two questions ask whether you have pets on the premises and whether you mind if the maintenance personnel enters your room without you there.

If you choose to let the maintenance personnel enter your room while you are not there, they will leave you a blue and white door hanger flyer explaining what they did to resolve the problem.

If you still have questions about an issue you’re having with your room or how to submit a maintenance request, visit the Windwards Commons front desk or call them at 912-344-2940. Sometimes, they will even fill out the maintenance request in your name for you, but it’s always good to know how to do it yourself.