There are so many ways that going to college is like being a mom. You've made a choice that will change your life. You don't always know what's going on. You're often sleep deprived. But for some, it's not just general similarities that eventually become clear that make the two situations analogous. There are those who truly hone their mothering skills while earning degrees; who take on the attitudes, responsibilities, and overall demeanor of a mother long before their own children pop into their lives. I speak, of course, of the Dorm Moms.

When I say "Dorm Mom," chances are, there is someone who pops in your head immediately, and you smile and chuckle and think, "Yeah, she was totally the mom." She was the friend who always kept an eye on you, cheered you on, and helped you out. She was the friend who did not let you drunkenly go home with people you'd previously established to be horrible wastes of space. She was the responsible one. She was the one who seemed to have her sh*t together, even if it was only comparatively. She was the one of whom you thought, "Damn, she's going to be a great mom one day." And maybe that turned out to be true! Or maybe it didn't and she's child-free and still awesome. Whether or not she's an "actual" mom, she will always be your Dorm Mom.

Wait a second: Can you not think of who was your Dorm Mom? Do you realize that could mean — dum dum DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUM! — you might have been the Dorm Mom? Here's how you can tell:

You're The R.A.

There are lots of different types of R.A.s: The Fun R.A, the Hard-Ass R.A. (what up, Dorothy?), the Barely-There R.A., and, of course, there's the Mom R.A. It makes sense that mom types would be attracted to a role that encouraged them to be somewhat responsible for the well-being of others. Not all Dorm Moms are R.A.s... but a sizable chunk of R.A.s are Dorm Moms.

When You Hear Someone Is Sick, You Make An Unsolicited Pharmacy Run


If someone mentions that their roommate can't come out tonight because he's feeling sick, you rush to the nearest store and pick up orange juice, saltines, chicken noodle soup, ginger ale, and cough syrup. You basically become the emotional and compassionate doctor on whatever medical drama has most recently captured the popular imagination. You're not losing this dorm mate. Not on your watch.

You Are The One Residents Come To With Their Problems

Boyfriend trouble. Problems with a particularly obnoxious professor. Picking a major. Family issues. You have been consulted on all of these and more. You ooze an aura of wisdom and calm that draws people to you in their hour of need.

You Give Safety Lectures


"OK guys, have fun! But don't drink too much. And absolutely no driving. Who's the DD? OK, good. Oh! And there's a patch of ice just beyond the quad near the Social Sciences building and, like, five people I know have slipped there in the past two days, so watch out! Oh! And do you guys have condoms! Bring extra just in case someone else doesn't have them!"

Speaking of which...

You Are The Keeper Of The Condoms


If you don't physically have a box that you keep accessible to the public, everyone knows they can ask you and you'll hook them up. (Of course, why these scrubs don't realize they're free at the health center is beyond you, but whatever. As long as your babies are keeping themselves healthy, you're fine with it.)

You Mediate Fights And Disagreements

Because people know you like everyone (or at the very least care about everyone) and you can be impartial. The peaceful co-existence of everyone on your hall (or in your dorm, or apartment complex, or whatever your college living setup may be) is of the utmost importance to you. You are invested in this. In situations like this, you're basically a combination of a mom and Claire Underwood on House of Cards dealing with the Russian president.

You're The Resident Cheerleader


Dude. College is hard. You need someone in your life who believes in you. Someone who picks you up when you're down, celebrates your victories, and regularly reminds you of how awesome you are. At least, this is the thinking of the Dorm Mom, who takes it upon herself to make all her dorm mates feel like Mary Tyler Moore throwing her hat up in the air.

You Take Charge In Emergency Situations

When someone, let's say, discovers they have just peed blood, or can't stop passing out, or think they've been drugged, you are the one to drive them to the E.R. and sit with them until the doctor discharges them. If a bird somehow flies in through someone's window, you immediately jump into the fray, slam the door shut behind you, and start directing people how best to shoo it out. (This may or may not have happened to me and despite the fact that I'm pretty sure that bird is long dead now, I'm still pretty miffed it never sent me a thank you card for re-releasing it into the wild.) You are not afraid to roll up your sleeves to get the important sh*t taken care of.

You Clean Up At Parties While They're Still Happening


It's just easier this way, isn't it? Finish a bottle, put it in the recycling bin. Boom. Easy. Less mess to clean up tomorrow. And don't you feel better?!

You Know The Proper Way To Submit A Work Order

That broken desk is not going to fix itself, people. And honestly, the hopelessly backlogged, notoriously slow campus maintenance crew probably won't be fixing it any time soon, either (it's not their fault; there are, like, five of them and a million of you people constantly effing stuff up). But no need to make it worse by submitting the request through improper channels only to have to re-submit later. As your IRL Mom helps you with your laundry and taxes, so Dorm Mom will help you with this.

You Make Sure Drunk People Get Into Their Own Beds


...on their tummies with their shoes off.

You Share Food

Because food is love! This is how we show you we love you! Here, eat more! Do you want to take some home with you?

You Know Everything About Everyone


It's one of the things that moms do: We know everything about everyone in our little family and we use this information wisely. Sometimes to our advantage, sometimes to smooth things over between two warring factions... and, yeah, sometimes just to gossip because who doesn't like a good gossip sesh every now and then, right?

Dorm moms are among the most important members of a healthy dorm ecosystem. What would you do without us? (You'd probably be fine, but admit it: We make your college experience way more pleasant than it would be otherwise.)