For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Dec 26 2017
by Nicole Molinari

8 Ways To Make Your Dorm Feel More Like Home Next Semester

By Nicole Molinari - Dec 26 2017

Living away from home as a freshman is tough. Chances are it's your first time living on your own, and while it's a very exciting time, it can also feel like a bit of an emotional roller coaster. You're not with your family anymore, and you're surrounded by all these strangers in a place where the word "overwhelming" may as well be flashing above your head in bright red.  If you want your dorm to feel like a place of comfort and warmth, then here are eight ways to make your dorm feel more like home. This is a great way to start off the new year after you come back from winter break, especially if you struggled with the transition during first semester.

1. Put up pictures of your family and friends.

This may sound cheesy, but it helps. After all, a huge component of missing home comes from the people who made it such a loving and nurturing environment for you while you were growing up. Keeping a photo frame on your desk or a collage of photographs on your wall will serve as a constant reminder that you have people in your life who love and support you, and that can be one of your greatest assets as a young student with a bright mind.

2. Bring your bedding from home.

Some people like this idea, and some don't. Shopping around to design a new room for yourself can be a lot of fun, but if you're like me and you get easily homesick, bringing your bedding from home is something to consider. Your bed is a safe place where you can go to rest after you've had a long day, and the familiarity of your bedspread will make your dorm a little homier. 

3. Put up some pictures of your house and neighborhood.

If you come from a pretty neighborhood or spent a lot of time outside as a child, take a few moments to get some nice pictures of your house from outside. Some of my fondest childhood memories occurred on my front lawn or at a friend's house just down the street, and it's very comforting to look back on old pictures and remember how fortunate I was to have such good friends, even at that young age.

4. Bring a couple decorative objects from your room or house.

It's all about the little things. Grab one or two objects (with your parents' permission if it doesn't belong to you) and place them somewhere in your dorm. I have a Disney figurine set up on my bookshelf and some favorite books of mine on display. Even though I don't read them, having them with me provides a sense of comfort.

5. Get a rug or carpet for your floor.

Though this isn't an obvious idea, if your room isn't already carpeted, get something to keep the floor warm. Tiled floors can get cold, especially during the fall and winter months, and walking around on a cold surface isn't any fun. Making your dorm as comfortable as possible is critical to feeling like it's your true home.

6. Choose a color scheme for your room.

Having an aesthetically pleasing dorm will make it easy to fall in love with your new home, so if you can afford it, pick out a color scheme and stick with it! You can't necessarily paint the walls, but you can choose decorations, extra pillows, pictures, binders, accessories and more! This is your new room, so do something fun and creative with it! Even if it doesn't look like your old room at home, decorating and organizing your dorm the way you want will make settling into it easier and more fun.

7. Bring your favorite childhood blanket or toy with you.

This is super cheesy, but it also works. Having something so close to your heart with you in a new place can help keep you grounded. Life as a college student gets overwhelming very quickly, which is why it's important to keep simple reminders of your roots close by. Staying grounded in school is tough, but it's also very rewarding. Whenever school gets to be too much or you find yourself struggling to adapt to the sudden changes in your life, pull your childhood toy or blanket out and take a moment to breathe. 

8. Decorate with pictures and symbols of your favorite memories.

Whether you want to fill your wall with pictures from prom or pictures of your five-year-old self playing in the autumn leaves, nostalgia leaves its impact on all of us. Fill your room with memories of the good times to remind you that not only have you been fortunate enough to have such good memories, but that you also have so many more to make.

Adjusting to life away from home isn't always easy, so do what you can to make the transition as smooth as possible. Find things that make you feel comfortable and safe, and make sure they're visible in your room. Never forget the importance of personalizing your dorm – after all, it's important to feel like you have a home away from home.

Lead image credit: Jill111 via Pixabay

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Nicole Molinari - Wilfrid Laurier University

Nicole is a sophomore at Wilfrid Laurier University who is pursuing a major in business administration and a minor in writing. She loves working part time as a lifeguard, and in her spare time she enjoys reading and making memories with friends. A victim of late night syndrome, she knows she needs more sleep but wouldn't want to live her life any other way.

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