College Freshmen: Making Your College Dorm Room More Like Home
Well, it is that time of the year again: The Migration of the College Students. A noisier and less organized migration than that of the migrating geese.
The room assignments have been mailed out, along with the Orientation schedules. Moving trucks have been reserved and supplies are being purchased. The last-minute packing is close to being done and the anticipation, excitement and anxiety have just begun.
Let the migration begin!
It is exciting and at the same time a little scary… not just for the parents, but for the college students as well.
For some students, it will be their first time away from home and all that is comforting and familiar. What awaits them is a stark room, with nothing on the walls, no sheets on the mattress, and nothing on the sparse furniture.
Think of this as a blank canvas on which you can create your own little home-away-from-home… even better, no parents telling you not to put “that” on the wall. You can make it your own, reflecting your evolving personality and ever-changing tastes. You can create your own little oasis, your personal cocoon, to which you can retreat and, of course, “study.”
First, before you leave for college, have you brainstormed and made a list of all the different kinds of clothes and things you may need for different kinds of conditions, situations, and occasions?
Have you gotten your health check-ups, your insurance squared away, and fixed or done maintenance on anything you’re taking with you?
If not, you may want to read one of my earlier, extremely useful articles, “College Freshmen: Back-to-School Reminders,” which applies to all students moving back to college, not just the noobs, a.k.a., the incoming Freshmen.
Now, with all the serious stuff out-of-the-way, don’t forget to think about the little things that will make your dorm room feel more like your sanctuary, your home-away-from-home. Sometimes it’s those little things that can make all the difference.
- Framed Photos: How about framed pictures of your dog, your family, your bedroom, your house, your town, your boyfriend or girlfriend, your favorite hiking spot or beach? Think of framed pictures, sitting there on your desk or dresser, waiting to make you smile at the end of a lousy day or to help alleviate the occasional bouts of homesickness.
- Linens, Pillows, & Blankets: Bringing your own linens might make it feel more like home, but most college dorm room mattresses have atypical sizes and your home linens may not fit. Call the housing office at your college and find out what size mattress your specific dorm room has… and then buy linens with patterns and textures – like flannel – that will make you feel at home. You may also want to bring a quilted mattress pad, college mattresses are often thin. And don’t forget your most comfortable pillow and your favorite blanket… c’mon, I know you have one.
- Comfort Food: Don’t laugh, you’ll be surprised at how much some of your favorite comfort foods can help you get through that first week of school and through those little bumps along the way. Think of things that don’t need refrigeration, like peanut butter or boxed cookies or dried roasted sea weed… err, well, I do live in California, but you get the idea.
- Stuff for Studying in Bed: Chances are your college dorm room will have a desk for you, but sometimes you just want to study in bed, so bring things to make that as comfortable as possible. For instance, bed chair pillows are comfortable in ways that folding over your regular pillow will never be… the back and neck support will feel priceless at the end of a long night of studying. And, along with a bed chair pillow, you will get a lot of use out of a good lap desk and/or a laptop cooling tray, these trays or pads come with cooling fans to keep your laptop from overheating. There are many on the market, read the reviews and find the best fit for your needs.
- Small Storage Chest: If you have the room at the foot of your bed or in a closet, bring a small storage chest with lock and key in which you can keep some personal items that will remind you of home… photo albums, knick-knacks with sentimental value, a childhood rabbit’s foot… but leave room for new memories.
- Posters: And don’t forget about those stark walls begging for some artwork. Putting up some posters is a great way to express yourself, your tastes, your interests, your personality.
- Although there are a million posters to choose from, remember that you may not have a whole lot of wall space all to yourself. So, first, you may want to check out how much wall space is yours, and then talk to your roommate about anything they might find objectionable.
- After that, you can go online to custom order the sizes that will work for you and your roommates. If you don’t have the time, check my Posters & Prints Pinterest Board, I have included some very affordable, quality posters I personally hand-picked to satisfy a variety of tastes, all of which can be sized down or up to fit your space and the quality adjusted to fit your budget. I have included some in this article, but, remember, the Internet is full of sites that will custom size, print, and frame to your heart’s content, so look around.
This, of course, is not an exhaustive list. There are so many other ways that you can make your dorm room more personal and comfortable and, no doubt, you will discover on your own dozens of ways to do just that. I do hope you will share your ideas and suggestions, here and there, with other students who are facing the same challenges and opportunities that college-housing living offers.
Well, this article is long enough and I know you have a lot to do, so… wishing you good luck, great success, and the presence of mind to appreciate and enjoy your time in college! It will be over before you know it. (Really.)
One last bit of advice… don’t forget to call your moms… they will really, really miss you and appreciate the call… or an email… or, okay, you’re busy, so how about a text message once in a while? It might even make you feel like a little less homesick!
This article is dedicated to Kelbi-Caitlin.
Good luck, Pumpkin!
Martie Hevia (c) 2012 – All Rights Reserved
Interesting, iconic, artistic, breath-taking, motivational, inspirational, funny, or simply ‘cool’ posters to define your space… hand-picked by me.
(To check the collection, go to Posters & Prints.)