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5 Dorm Room Must-Haves

Photo by: iStock



It’s pretty disconcerting to enter your dorm room for the first time and see what appears to be little more than a cot in a prison cell. But with just a few inexpensive touches, you can customize your dorm space and bring a little bit of home to your new home. Carol Dawidowicz, MFT from Positive Change Counseling Center comments on this often overlooked topic.


1. A bed tent. Whaaat? It’s a pup tent for your bed! Your mattress fits inside it and you can zip the entire unit for privacy or leave one of the side/entry flaps open. Add to that mesh windows that you can leave open and you’re all set to read, sleep, meditate or just chill without having to look at your roommate staring you down while you nosh on some Cheetos. Dawidowicz reminds, “Although you may feel a need for more privacy at times, it is also important to make an effort to connect with your roommate(s). Building a support network helps students adjust to college life and reduces feelings of loneliness. Spend time getting to know your roommate by asking questions about his/her interests over lunch or coffee.”


2. A quilt or comforter. Most dorm beds are twin-size, so opt for a full-size or larger comforter so you can really snuggle up on those cold days and nights. There are even weighted comforters if you have trouble sleeping. Even in the spring and summer, it’s really soothing to have a quilt you can envelop yourself in.


3. A first-aid kit. Don’t rely on campus nursing access to be there every time you need it (and hopefully you’ll never have to meet campus healthcare staff!) Buy a small backpack and fill it with gauze, itch relievers, bandages, scissors, tweezers, prescription medications, OTC anti-pain and anti-fever meds, plus a laminated card with your parents and your doctors’ info on it along with any meds you’re taking and conditions you suffer from. “It is also good idea to create an emotional first-aid kit. Make a list of healthy ways to cope with stress, such as listening to relaxing music or a guided meditation, journal writing, calling a close family member or friend, exercising, or watching a funny movie," says Dawidowicz.


4. Underbed storage. Dorm closets are notoriously microscopic, so why not opt for some plastic tubs or shallow boxes for storing stuff under your bed? If the space is too shallow, you can either add inexpensive risers to the bedframe or trim down cardboard boxes so they’ll easily slide under the bed.


5. A surge-protector power strip. Sure, it may seem old-school, but you only need to experience one power outage and data loss to go running to the nearest office supply store to buy one of these life-saving babies.

Before you start redecorating your dorm, make sure you check with your campus administration to see what’s allowed in your dorm room. You might be banned from toting a hot plate into your room, but not some cool wallpaper or a beanbag chair. Dawidowicz says, “Anxiety and depression are on the rise amongst college students. The first year of college can be especially difficult as new students adjust to living away from home. Creating a comfortable living space in your dorm room is a way to enhance your college experience and emotional well-being.”



Shelley Moench-Kelly, MBA, is a New England-based writer and editor whose freelance clients include Google, L’Oreal Paris and TheWeek.com.

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