After coming back from my yearlong exchange program in Japan, I noticed I had changed quite a bit. I was back in the dorms and instead of keeping to myself, I found myself chatting with pretty much anybody. This was mostly limited fellow dorm-mates, but this kind of thing was very unusual for me. Perhaps returning to the familiar after being completely out of my comfort zone for a year allowed me to just fully relax (not that my experience in Japan wasn’t fantastic). I was able to, quickly, make friends with pretty much everyone on my floor; I did feel like the resident old guy since many of my dorm-mates were still in high school when I last lived in this dorm.
Due to my newly found openness, and my seemingly insatiable need for more Dungeons and Dragons, I was quickly able to find a group of people to tabletop roleplay with. Since we were all college kids, our weekend schedules lined up nicely to play all day on the weekends. We would start out early afternoon and play until we were too tired to play anymore. We could easily put in 8-10 hours of playing at a time. It was incredibly fun. To this day, over 10 years later, I still tabletop roleplay with a couple friends I made during these sessions in college.
The breaking out of my shell wasn’t limited to just Dungeons and Dragon friends like it had been in the past. I started to socialized and hang out with others as well. A group of friends that I had made created a double-header movie day. We would all head out, grab some food somewhere, and go watch two moves back to back. If we didn’t go out to the movies, we would hang out in their dorm room (they had a nice, huge room) and watch movies there or play video games.
I also started going to and participating in dorm activities, something I never did before I went to Japan. Part of this was because one of my D&D friends was involved in the residence halls, but I had also become pretty good friends with the RA (Resident Advisor) who lived across the hall from me. We would shoot the breeze all the time as we both had open door policies. He would also participate in the dorm events.
It was here, during these dorm events, that I became more comfortable branching out and meeting more people. Since these events were social by nature, it didn’t work to sit in a corner and ignore everyone. A lot of the events were essentially pizza parties with some kind of group game. Others were team events pitting one dorm against the other, which I also participated in. These events were incredibly fun and I got to meet a lot of really great, interesting people. I cannot really imagine how it would have been had I still been fully within my shell. I would have missed out on a lot of good times.
Did you ever live in the dorms in college? What was your experience like? Please leave a comment and/or share on Twitter.