My family and friends frequently tell me that I am the type of person that can handle any situation that life throws at me and that many of my experiences can make great blog material. As a result of this, I have decided to start a new series of posts that tackle many what-if situations that students may worry about facing when they get to college or live on their own. Today, I will be sharing advice for what happens when you lock yourself out of your dorm.
Two ways I’ve been locked out of my dorm
I’ve definitely locked myself out of my dorm more than twice, and even locked myself out twice in one day. But for purposes of this post, I’ll be sharing two different circumstances that lead to me locking myself out of my dorm.
Story 1- Taking out the trash without my cane
About once a year, I lock myself out of my dorm room when I’m walking down the hall to take out the trash. Since I don’t take my blindness cane with me when I take out the trash, I tend to get very nervous when I lock myself out without my cane. At least I’ve never had a hall bathroom and locked myself out of my dorm after taking a shower.
Story 2- Grabbing donuts with my cane
I had gone outside of my dorm building to grab some donuts from a friend when I realized that I had forgotten my key on my desk. The two bright sides to this situation are that I have my blindness cane in one hand and a tasty donut in the other one, but neither of those things can get me into my room.
Other ways I’ve locked myself out
I originally was just going to include these two stories, but my friend suggested I include some of the other funny ways I have locked myself out of my dorm:
- While getting ready to see a show at the performing arts center with my brother, who was visiting at the time
- Rushing to get out the door to breakfast- my dorm key also swipes me into the dining hall
- Going outside to meet a friend
- Dropping my key inside my dorm right before I close the door
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Walking to the neighborhood desk
The dorms on my college campus are organized into groups called neighborhoods, and each neighborhood has a central desk that students can go to if they lock themselves out of their dorm. I made sure this was one of the first places I learned to walk to when I started using a blindness cane, because I didn’t want to worry about asking for help or getting lost. I practiced the route a few times so that if I had to navigate there without my cane, I could do so. If I have my cane like I did in Story 2, it’s easy for me to walk there alone.
In situations like Story 1, I frequently don’t have my cell phone with me, so I have to be very careful when walking to ensure I don’t hit any obstacles. I also ask someone at the neighborhood desk to walk me back to my dorm room if possible so I can use them as a human guide.
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Calling the desk for help
Sometimes, Story 1 will take place at night or when I am unable to walk outside without my cane, so I will call the neighborhood desk and ask them to come let me in. It helps to explain that I am legally blind and use a blindness cane which I don’t currently have with me, though my friend said the neighborhood desk also came to unlock their door when they locked themselves out after a shower.
If the neighborhood desk does come down to let you in, be prepared to wait. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but they are very busy and likely need to find someone who can come help. The last time this happened, the resident director for my building came to let me in.
How to not get locked out of your dorm
Here are some of my tips for making sure you don’t get locked out of your dorm:
Put your key on a lanyard
I would keep my dorm key inside a cool lanyard I bought, and bring the lanyard everywhere on campus. This wasn’t one of the freshman orientation lanyards, but a black and gold one I got at an accessories store. The lanyard hangs next to my door.
Have it next to your cane
I keep my key next to my blindness cane, which I will automatically reach for before I leave to go somewhere. Other alternatives include having it near your phone or other important item.
Take it before evacuating
If the fire alarm starts going off, make sure that you grab your key to get back in your dorm and don’t lock yourself out. Many students forget to do this and end up having to walk to the neighborhood desk after a fire drill.
If the power goes out, you might be temporarily locked out of your dorm. In cases like this, you should monitor the campus alert system or talk to staff members for further instructions.
Don’t try to make a copy of your key
I know that having a copy of your key can be very helpful, but most colleges don’t let students make copies of dorm keys for security reasons. Likewise, they won’t issue copies of keys to your parents or anyone other than the people that live in your assigned space. However, keys can be replaced if they truly are lost, with replacement fees ranging from $10 to $75, depending on the type of key.
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It happens to everyone
I know it can seem embarrassing to get locked out of your dorm, but it really does happen to everyone. I hope that you find a way to get back inside your dorm quickly and without a lot of frustration!