For some people living in a dorm feels just right. After all, there is nothing better than living within yelling distance of your 40 closest friends. For others, dorms are dirty, loud, and filled with people and things you hope to never come into contact with. No matter where you stand on dorm living, there are a few things you can do to make dorm life better. Here are six tips to get you started.

1. Don’t Live with Your Best Friend

This may seem completely backwards to you. How could living with your best friend be a bad thing? After all, you’re best friends! Living with your best friend isn’t a great idea for a few reasons. First of all, you probably already spend a lot of time together. You eat together, go out together and maybe even have class together. If you live together, you will have little to no time apart, no time to yourself, and that will quickly start to drive you nuts. Second, you and your best friend likely share a group of friends. By living with someone new, you are opening yourself up to not just one new friend, but possibly dozens. Get out of your old routine and try out living with a stranger.

2. Keep Your Room Clean

If there is one thing you definitely don’t want to find in your dorm room, it’s bugs. Bugs live are all over dirty dorm rooms and they love crumbs, half-eaten food, and other trash. The best thing that you can do to keep your room bug-free is to clean it regularly and make sure that you aren’t leaving any food out. Clean up before it’s too late. If it’s too late the roaches will let you know.

3. Keep Yourself Clean

Your room isn’t the only thing you need to keep clean to ensure a happy dorm life. Living on a floor with 40 other teenagers, a lot of germs get swapped and it is very easy to get sick. By washing your hands, showering, and brushing your teeth regularly you are doing yourself a huge favor in the fight against getting sick. You are also doing your roommate a huge favor. No one wants to live with the smelly guy.

4. Make Friends with Your RA

This is vital if you ever plan on hosting a party or even having a few friends over. Whether your RA (residence assistant) is sweet and easy-going or tough and mean, do your best to make friends with her. If she has a friendly relationship with you she will be much less likely to bust you than if you treat her poorly, or don’t pay attention to her at all. It could be as little as asking her how her day is going or having a quick conversation on the elevator. A little bit of kindness will go a long way.

5. Keep Your Door Open

While your door may not be open to pests, it should be open to the other students on your floor. In a dorm setting an open door is like an invitation to make a new friend or hang out with an old pal. Even if you aren’t the type to stop by other’s rooms and introduce yourself, by leaving your door open you are showing that you are open to anyone that wants to come by and say hello.

6. Keep Your Valuables Safe

While it’s great to be open and friendly, you also need to be wary that in a dorm it is very easy for some of your valuable stuff (electronics, jewelry, etc.) to mysteriously disappear. While buying a safe isn’t necessarily the solution, always keep your valuables tucked away where they aren’t sitting out in plain view for the world to see. In addition to your material valuables, remember to password protect your computer and change the password every few months. You never know who might be trying to get onto your laptop to read your secret emails or take a look at your bank account.