Regardless of whether you’re a freshman or a coterm, functioning like a successful adult is hard. Sometimes you forget to pay the $2.53 credit card bill on time, and sometimes, you can’t remember if you missed your sibling’s birthday yesterday. Whoops.
Usually, when you need your parents the most, they don’t pick up the phone even after you leave 27 voicemails and send 138 text messages. Luckily, there’s always a surrogate in the dorm who will lovingly spoon feed you ramen and listen to your miniscule problems.
If you’re unsure of your role, check out these signs to determine if you’re the mom of your dorm.
1. You’ve been mistaken for the RA.
It’s a Friday night and your friends begged you to come out just for an hour, but you might have some homework to catch up on. In the midst of watching Netflix instead of doing work, a pregame starts in the room across the hall. You peek outside every so often to make sure no one’s dying, but towards the end of the night, you see a slumped body a few doors down.
Your inner paramedic kicks in and you manage to get the unidentified partygoer talking and drinking water. Meanwhile, a few others have randomly started patting you on the back and thanking you for being such an attentive RA.
2. You’re part-time student, part-time therapist.
Your peers line up at your door when they know you’re in the dorm or text you to schedule an appointment in between classes. Well, maybe both of those situations are exaggerations, but you’re typically the one people come to when they have any sort of problem. With wisdom beyond your years, you know the right type of advice to give.
Maybe a friend doesn’t know how to ask a girl out or can’t decide if a sweater goes in the dryer. You’re also there as a shoulder to cry on when a family member passes or a midterm doesn’t go as planned.
3. You’ve got the cleaning habits of Danny Tanner.
While your side of the room may be messy, it’s a clean messy. The piles of papers on your desk are clutter-free and the hoard of shoes in your closet are arranged by most worn.
You’ve got an endless supply of Clorox wipes, change your sheets once a week and put any dirty laundry inside the hamper instead of on the floor.
When someone in the dorm GroupMe asks if anyone has a working vacuum or iron, you’re the first to respond with enthusiasm. You take great pride in wrinkle-free clothes and crumb-free floors.
4. You’re always prepared for the worst.
Disney-themed Band-Aids? Check. Scissors for lefties? Check. Automatic can opener? Double check.
You’re notorious for having an emergency everything kit in your purse, your dorm room, the trunk of your car, and just about anywhere something bad can happen. When packing for a vacation or even just an overnight trip, your suitcase is probably impossible to zip because it’s stuffed with extras of everything. “Just in case” is your daily mantra.
5. You’ve got the “disapproving look” perfected.
You’ve inherited the half-grimace-with-squinting-eyes face from your own mother, but you only exhibit this trait in times of need. When your friend with a lactose intolerance chooses to eat a gallon of ice cream for every meal, you wince inside thinking about the lack of nutrients and the future discomfort she’ll endure. But you try to only show the disapproving look when a friend purposely puts himself in danger and later faces the consequences.
Sometimes it’s hard not to outwardly show the face when it’s not needed, but it’s for the best. You don’t want to be seen as the nagging dorm mom.
6. You remember everything about everyone
A mom’s job is to know every detail about her children.
How does the oldest like cauliflower over Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? Why does the youngest insist on playing a terrible version of the “Titanic” theme song on the recorder?
Remembering the small facts about your roommates shows how much you care. When you ask how a sports game or theater performance went, you’ll boost your friend’s spirit and strengthen your relationship. By knowing everything about everyone, you can also be that annoying mom who reminds them that their chemistry p-set is due Thursday or ask them how their date at Sushirrito turned out.
Contact Emily at egs1997 ‘at’ stanford.edu.