The Worst Aspects of Living At Res

Moving out of your parents’ house and into student residence (res) /dorms is a big adjustment.

I didn’t live there out of choice; it was just what my parents could afford for me and I’m sure they just wanted me to have that college experience. The apartments around the school were bloody expensive anyways…

Sharing a space with anyone, especially strangers means you need to be extra vigilant with your cleanliness and ensuring that you leave shared spaces in a decent condition for the next person. Unfortunately, there are instances where people just don’t give a damn about others and do downright disgusting things in shared spaces.

I hope you’ve never experienced any of this but if you have then I’m sorry. I know how much it sucks!

These are the aspects that made living at res suck: Sharing spaces with people with poor hygiene habits

This first point summarises the rest of what I’m about to say because most (if not all) of the next points are tied to it. A person with good personal hygiene would generally not commit the sins below.

Finding pee and blood on toilet seats

“If you sprinkle when you twinkle, be a sweetie and wipe the seatie” a sign I’ve seen in someone’s bathroom somewhere. I feel like this should be common sense though.

I remember sometimes I’d go to the bathroom and find menstrual blood or pee on toilet seats and I’d just wonder why the hell they were just left there. I mean personally, I get so paranoid about leaving things in bathroom cubicles, so I triple check before I leave that I haven’t left anything behind that I’d be embarrassed for the next person to see.

If you do accidentally dirty the seat, just wipe it before you leave!

The floating stool and people generally not flushing the toilet for some unknown reason

This one and the above point are related and again, just check before you leave that the bathroom is in a condition that you’d like to find it in. It’s disgusting to leave your “business” behind for the next person and totally unhygienic.

Finding used panty liners in the shower

Why people chose to remove these in the shower is beyond me. I mean the toilet cubicles were right there. Then they’d just leave them on the shower floor to be the next person’s problem. I used to feel so sorry for the cleaning ladies because ew..

Dirty kitchen sinks, stoves and other surfaces

I mostly ate microwaved foods which I prepared in my room in my own microwave because I was disgusted by how dirty the kitchen was when I first started living at that res, so I just decided not to cook there.

I did cook sometimes eventually but I tried to be there right after the cleaning staff otherwise it would be filthy.

People would cook and their pots would boil over, and they’d just leave it. It doesn’t sound bad when one person does it; which they shouldn’t be doing but imagine the state of the stove after about 5 people doing that.

The cleaning ladies even used to complain because they failed to understand (with good reason), why a kitchen used by women was THAT filthy.

When the hot water runs out

OMG, I used to hate it when people who don’t even have morning classes would get up early and shower for like an hour, using up all the hot water!!!

This used to happen a lot in first year, yeah, I took many cold showers that year. The water would heat up eventually again, but it sucked.

I never understood the design of those dorms. There was like 2 showers and a bath for an entire floor of people which is just bad maths man.

Hair blocking the shower drain

People would shave and wash their hair in the shower and all the showers were draining to one area that would get clogged and disgusting. Sometimes maintenance didn’t fix the blockage right away so the water would kind of collect by your feet while you’re showering.

So unhygienic!

Roommates who pee in the room

I know this one is unusual and you’re probably thinking “What the fuck?” but I experienced it!

I remember one particular night I was woken from my slumber by the sound of running water, (I generally wake up when I hear sounds that have nothing to do with my dreams) only to find it was my roommate taking a piss in her bin … yeah, I know!

The toilet wasn’t even far…

The paper-thin walls that allowed you to hear everything including your neighbours having sex.

Jeepers! At least play some music to drown out your loud moans why don’t you??? Ha ha ha some people are trying to study…

Stolen laundry from laundry room and clothesline

Where I lived many people were using the clothesline to hang their wet laundry so I thought it would be okay. I didn’t like putting delicate items in the dryer, so I just decided I’d just hang all my laundry on the clothesline; especially if the dryers were unavailable.

I stopped doing so when I went to fetch my laundry one day and the first thing that I noticed upon approaching my clothes hanging on the line was that my t-shirt was missing. I had hung an entire line full of clothes and someone had handpicked that specific t-shirt. There was literally a gap where the t-shirt had been because it wasn’t on the end.

The way my heart sank… damn!

I tried to check on my laundry as often as I could but realistically, I couldn’t have watched my clothes dry. Even when it came to the dryer; sometimes you’d leave for a bit knowing the dryer still had plenty of time on it only to come back and find your clothes have been removed by some disrespectful person…. Some people just don’t care; what can you do?

Don’t get me wrong, living at res is not all bad. I’m sure there are people who genuinely loved it, I didn’t…

What were some of the cons you experienced while living in student dorms and having to share your living space with initial strangers? Share your stories and experiences in the comments. I would love to hear them!


Originally published at on September 7, 2020.

South African lifestyle blogger at and bibliophile