5 Ways Dorm Life Is Like Prison Life


I gotta be honest, I’ve never actually been to jail. I don’t really plan on going either. I’m not really what one might describe as “the prison type.” But I have seen plenty of movies and I do watch a lot of Lockup, so I guess you can consider me somewhat of an expert. Plus I was arrested once and handcuffed to a chair for 45 minutes and where I’m from, that makes you a hardened criminal. Now while I have never actually spent any time behind bars, I, like most of you, have spent hard time in the proverbial slammer we all know as the dorms. While dorm life certainly had it’s fair share of poignant,highlight reel moments, there’s no denying that dorm life kinda sucks. In fact, you could even say that dorm life is a lot like prison in some respects.

Establish Dominance Immediately.

Everyone knows that if you happen to find yourself in the pokey, the first thing to do is either kick someone’s ass or become someone’s bitch on the first day. By doing so, you’ll establish yourself in the social hierarchy and let everyone and their brother know you’re not to be trifled with. The same thing applies in the dorms. So unless you want to be the guy cooped up in his room, spending every waking hour playing Word of Warcraft on the weekends, that means you have to kick someone’s ass, right? No way, you lunatic! You’re gonna start a fight in your dorm on the first day? That’s the quickest way to get yourself a one-way ticket back home to community college and the start of your illustrious career as a manager at Denny’s. Instead of kicking someone’s ass literally, try asserting your dominance a little more subtly. Let everyone know you’re here to have a good time. Leave your door open and meet new people when they stop by. Sooner or later, they’ll figure out you’re a cool dude and that when it’s time to head out to the bars come Friday, you should be in attendance.

You’ll Use Items as Currency

There’s no money in the big house. If you want to buy something, you gotta find another way to pay for it. I assume you’ll want to rule out sexual favors and gang hits as a method of payment, so all that really leaves you with is the items you have at your disposal. The dorms are no different, not because money is banned, but because you probably spent the last of your scrilla on a 30 of Natty and a large Domino’s pizza last night. Am I on the right track? You’d be amazed how far some Ramen noodles and a few tobacco products can get you. Buy, sell, trade, anything is fair game really.

Find Your Floor’s “Red”

Every place on earth has it’s own vices and prison is no different. The only problem in the slammer is that you can’t just saunter down to the corner store and buy a pack of cigs or the latest issue of “Hustler” magazine. If you want to get your hands on something out of the ordinary, you’ll have to recruit the help of someone with a certain expertise. In Shawshank, Ellis Boyd “Red” Freeman was the man to see. Your dorm will have it’s own version of Red, just without a soothing voice that could calm even the crankiest of wailing newborn babies. The principle remains the same however, as Red should be able to help you score any item of your choosing if you were one of those kids that were unfortunate enough to report to campus minus a fake ID or a solid “connection.” Not that I would know anything about either of those things, Mom.

You’ll Have to Hide Your Contraband

So my boy Red got you all the booze and dope he could get his hands on, huh? Swell guy, isn’t he? Make sure you don’t get caught, though. Nothing is more demeaning than being forced by campus PD to dump that 30 rack you put so much effort into obtaining. You gotta be sneaky, man. You don’t see cons walking around, prison shank just out in the open, right? My personal favorite is the classic lukewarm beer in the backpack move. Sure, everyone on campus will know you’re the freshman at the party, but that’s ok because everyone is going to figure out you’re a freshman at some point anyway. In that case, you may as well be the frosh that’s strapped with the room temp ale. Not exactly a prison shank, but I think you get the picture.

Having a Good Roommate is Key

In the pokey, having a roommate that has your back is critical. 23 hour lockdown can get quite lonely by yourself and who else is going to keep you from getting shanked while your back is turned in the yard? Ok, so you probably won’t get shanked sauntering about a college campus (unless you went to school where I did), but having a good roommate that you can chill with makes all the difference in the world. Or you could choose to go the 23 hour lockdown route. Let me know how that works out for you.