Five tips for staying out of trouble in the dorms 

Let's face it: If you're a college student occasionally you may find yourself on the wrong side of the law. Here are some tips to help keep you out of trouble.

1. Sometimes you fight the law and the law wins. Always be respectful with police. Address them as "officer," "sir," or "ma'am." They eat that up. Next, always tell the truth. If you've been drinking, be honest. If you're intervened by police while stumbling home, most of them want you to get home safe, maybe even more than you do. Be polite and tell the truth. Oh, and never run away.

2. In your college career, you may be tempted to smoke marijuana. If you choose to experiment, you take safety precautions, as it is still an illegal drug and can get you in trouble. Never smoke on campus. If you live on campus, make a friend who lives just off campus and go there to smoke.

3. If you break Rule No. 2 and smoke in a dorm, take precaution. First, make some popcorn in your microwave to give your room a strong camouflauge smell. Next, stick a towel under the door. Then you can begin smoking. Make sure you blow the smoke out of a window. If you tape a dryer sheet over the end of a paper towel and blow smoke through it, you'll eliminate a lot of the smell. Once you're done, spray some air freshener around the room, and enjoy your popcorn. Or just buy yourself a vape stick like everyone else these days and take a walk outside the dorm. Since they are essentially odorless and certainly don't smell like weed, the cops will have no reason to hassle you.

4. Drinking in the dorms is going to happen. Once again, if possible, go off-campus. Drinking in the dorms is a lot more casual than parties. Chilling out in a dorm room while having a few beers with friends can be a lot of relaxing fun. But remember that dorm walls are very thin, so code words are key. For example, replace the word beer with soda, and hard liquor with Gatorade. If you're near your RA and you want to ask your buddies to come over and drink, just code the conversation by asking if they want to play videogames. Always use a secret knock. If you feel the need to drink in a public part of your dorm, don't. But if you do, here's how: Get an empty extra-large drink cup from a convenience store, fill the bottom with ice and place a canned beer atop the ice. Put a lid on and stick a straw through the lid and into the can of beer.

5. A great way to stay out of trouble in the dorms is to become friends with your RA. Hang out with your RA and spring for dinner once in awhile. A lot of dorm residents think that their RA is out to get them. Some of them may be, but the vast majority don't want to get you in trouble. For the most part, if you happen to get caught by your RA doing something you shouldn't and you've been friendly with them, they'll let it slide. Some RA's are just lazy and really don't want to fill out the paperwork.

Let's say you didn't follow the second step on this list and now there are two scary police officers at your door. Be quiet and go to sleep. If you pretend that no one's home, the police will leave. Hopefully.

More by Nicholas A. Johnson

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