There are many aspects of dorm life that are great—you’re on campus, so you’re close to everything. You get to meet a lot of people that you probably wouldn’t have otherwise. You have the opportunity to take part in some really awesome social gatherings. But there are downsides as well. And one of those downsides is probably becoming increasingly apparent to you as the year goes on: the lack of air conditioning. Many dorms are now being equipped with central air, but there is still a great number that are at the mercy of the weather. If you’re in a dorm that doesn’t have air conditioning, there are a few things you can do to keep your room cool now that it’s starting to get warm.
First, if your college allows it, you can buy a window air conditioner. This is usually not an option, but if you’re able to, go for it! It’s much more effective than the other methods. There’s a large range of prices, but you can usually pick one up for around a hundred bucks. Most of the cost of a window unit comes from the electricity that it uses . . . but if your college is willing to pick up the bill, this is definitely the best way to go.
If you can’t use a window air conditioner (and it’s fairly likely that you won’t be able to), the next best option is a box fan (like this one). Propping this in your window—and another one in your door, if possible—will really help the circulation in your room and keep it from getting really hot and stuffy. A stand fan (see here) will also work, but because of the smaller size, probably won’t be quite as effective. Smaller fans, like desk or clip fans, are also important—put one next to your computer and clip one to your headboard, and you’ll stay much cooler, no matter where you are in your room.
In addition to using an air conditioner or fan to keep your dorm room cool, there are a couple other things you can do to keep the temperature down (or at least make it seem more cool). During the day, keep your windows open, but your blinds closed. This will allow air to circulate, but it will keep the sun from warming up your room too much. At night—or on cloudy days—you can open up the blinds to make your room seem like a dungeon. Unless you’re into the dungeon look. Then keep them closed. Another thing that you can do, if you have the option of bunking your beds, is to take the bottom bunk (or to not loft your bed, even though it’ll save you a significant amount of space). When the temperature starts to rise, it will be noticeably warmer near the ceiling.
As always, if you have any questions, comments or funny stories you'd like me to share about college or the blog, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org