Back to school advice: School and RA rules you should actually follow

Rules to followWhether you’re beginning your freshmen year or returning as a seasoned senior, sometimes breaking school rules comes as second nature. But, believe it or not, those pesky school rules are laid out for reason. To keep you and your friends out of trouble this semester, here are some rules you should actually pay attention to! (It’s for your own good!)

Rules to follow

Campus Explorer offers a quick look at some of the more common “On-Campus Housing and Dorm Rules.” Although colleges and universities will vary on policies, here are the major types of rules that you should be sure to follow going back to school this year:

  • Alcohol Policy: Your school will dictate whether or not you can drink in your dorm and they will be specific about where this can occur (i.e. only in dorms where students are of legal drinking age). Remember, underage drinking is not only irresponsible, but it can also get you in big trouble with the law and your school.
  • Fire Hazard Policy: Most schools ban the burning of candles or incense. They also generally ban the use of cooking appliances like hot plates and coffee makers. Don’t sneak these things in. Not only are small fires really embarrassing, but large fires can be life-threatening.
  • Pet Policy: Although some institutions allow pets to live with their owners in their dorms, many forbid it. Some schools allow a pet to visit for a short period of time (i.e. a friend walking her pooch stops by to chat or your parents bring Fluffy down for a weekend visit). Make sure you learn your school’s policy so you and your furry friend don’t run into any problems!
  • Emergency Policy: Your school will have a set of rules regarding what to do in case of an emergency (including weather-related issues). Be sure you know where to go, what to do and who to contact when you get there. And, always evacuate the building when you hear the fire alarm — no matter how much of a nuisance those fire drills are and how unlikely you think it is to be real.
  • Respect Your Space: Be respectful of basic dorm-living rules. Don’t remove window screens, mind the quiet hours and don’t damage the space on purpose! Minding the rules will not only keep you safe, it can potentially save you money down the road, since you’ll be charged for all damage done to the room.

Stay on your RA’s good side!

Keep in mind that your RA did not create these rules, but that he or she is responsible for you and for all the other residents on your floor. Dorm life can be tough, and these individuals really are there for you to talk to when problems arise. So don’t be shy: Grab some coffee (a cup for each of you) and head on over to your RAs room to introduce yourself. This is definitely an individual you want on your side.

In her May 06, 2012 post on, “Resident Assistants: Who They Are and What They Do,” Melissa Rhone explains, “One downfall of being a resident assistant is the fact that they’re often thought of as ‘the bad guy’ among other students.” Yes, RAs must keep order and those residents who don’t follow the rules must endure the consequences, but the job of Resident Advisor goes way beyond a righter of wrongs.

This semester, don’t just check out mentally when your RA or school official is going over the rules. They’re there to keep everyone safe and happy (not to mention fine-free)!

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