Dear Highlander: Done-With-Dorming

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Dear Highlander,

    I hate dorming, I really do. This is my first time living away from home, and at first I was so excited to feel independent and stuff, but now I want to put my head through a wall. I don’t know who the heck was living in my room before me but they left it like a pigsty. There are weird stains all over the place and some stuff is definitely broken. On top of all this, the room has the most bizarre smell. Actually– correction– make that two bizarre smells: one constantly, shifting smell that has been morphing every couple of days since I moved in, and a new weird smell that has popped up in the past week. Help me out here, I’m about ready to start commuting and I don’t even live in state.



Dear Done-With-Dorming,

    Sounds like your dorm has a lot of room for improvement! Jokes aside, it sounds like you have been given a lot to handle. But not to worry! The majority of these things can be handled with some effort.

    Since you haven’t specified where the stains are exactly, I’ll just give you advice for stains of every sort. Bathroom stains are probably the easiest to deal with; invest in a powerful cleanser or one of those magic sponges to deal with the particularly tough ones. If the stains still aren’t going away, and they’re in your shower for example, you might just have to deal with this by wearing shower slippers (in all honesty, there’s no harm in wearing shower slippers, even if your dorm shower is clean). If the stains are in the carpet, you can try to apply carpet cleansers, or just get a cheap throw-rug to cover it up. If your mattress is dirty, the best thing to do would be to get a zip-up mattress cover to put around your mattress before you put your sheets on.

   Unless you are secretly a handyman, there probably isn’t much you can do about the broken items in your room. Whatever the issue is, either file a maintenance request online or call the maintenance office if it is more urgent to get it resolved.

   Since you said the first smell seems to be changing often, I suspect that the smell may be coming from the vents; in other words, you might be paying the price for whatever your neighbors are up to. I won’t lie to you, if your neighbors smoke in their rooms, you will definitely smell it. On the other hand, this applies for a lot of things; for example, if you live next to the trash room, you might be smelling that, or smelling something burnt if one of your neighbors burned something in their microwave. I would recommend politely asking your neighbors if they have noticed a scent as well so you can both try to pinpoint what the source is. Please, don’t just start accusing people of stinking up the place.

    About the new scent in your room, it would be really helpful if you could figure out what the source is. Sniff around a bit and see if you can figure out what part of the room it is coming from. Check your trash bins and make sure you have been cleaning them regularly. Also check to see if you have any food that’s been left out too long. If you have searched for all these things and still can’t find anything, I’m sorry to say you may just have an odd smelling room. I would recommend using something like air fresheners to reduce the smell over time.

    I wish you best of luck with your dorm! Don’t worry, just think about how much fun you’ll have when you live somewhere where you have to deal with a landlord! .


                                                                                A Fellow Highlander

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Nanditha Lakshmanan

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