Dorm decor tips help freshmen prep for life at college
BY BRAVETTA HASSELL World Scene Writer
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
8/14/12 at 4:30 AM
Related Story: Freshmen descend on University of Tulsa for a week of orientation
Coming from a northern suburb of Chicago, Lindsay Glicksberg knew she wanted to bring a little bit of home when she started her freshman year at the University of Tulsa.
She packed photos of family and friends, among other sentimental items. She likes being able to look back over them and see the people she loves, those who've helped get her to where she is, Glicksberg said while pointing out boards of photo collages in her dorm room.
"Your room is your safe space," said Glicksberg, a chemistry major now entering her senior year at TU. "And if you don't feel very comfortable coming back to your dorm after a long day of classes ... then I don't think your experience at college is going to be very satisfactory."
Glicksberg, a senior resident adviser to freshmen, recently helped train all of the campus resident advisers.
The most key piece of advice she offers is to be patient and have fun, she said. Move-in day for TU's freshmen is this week.
Preparing to live on campus is a big transition - one that includes buying everything from shower caddies and plastic drawer systems to flip flops and alarm clocks.
Definitely an alarm clock. "Maybe two or three depending on how much of a sound sleeper you are," Glicksberg said with laughter. Then she ran down the essentials for dorm living.
It's OK to bring that favorite stuffed animal, blanket or anything else that brings comfort - especially that first year in school.
"Something that's like my little piece of home that I'm carrying with me when I'm far away," Glicksberg said.
Other essentials to make dorm rooms cozy: color-coordinated bed linen and curtains, decorative rugs, keepsakes, and game consoles.
But in addition to those things - the photographs, the quirky "welcome to college life" books from funny aunts, the iPod, the books, posters and random tchotchkes - don't forget the necessities.
Students need linens, hangers, a computer and entertainment. Then there are the things that would be easy to forget - removable mounting tape, medicine for the occasional 24-hour bug, a desk or floor lamp, a printer and flip-flops.
Flip-flops were one of the items TU senior Angela Surratt said her sister reminded her to bring because, "you don't want to go barefoot in a community bathroom."
And while on the topic of community bathrooms, bathrobes are essential, Surratt added.
Surratt brought a microwave her first year, a television, her laptop and "lots of hangers" but nothing heavy-duty, which is what Tammie Willis, assistant director of residence life at Northeastern State University, recommends.
Wait until you get to campus and see your room before you start investing in storage bins, Willis said. You need to get an idea about the space you're working with to determine what sized containers are best to buy. You may need bins that can fit under a bed or stacked in a closet, Willis said.
It's not uncommon for parents and students to call and ask about the details of a room, said Mark Bernhardt, associate director of housing at TU.
"People who really want to make their room perfect, they'll ask about dimensions for everything," Bernhardt said. "And those students come completely prepared to make the room perfect."
The school is in the process of giving as many details about student dorm rooms online - including dimensions of furniture - to families, Bernhardt said.
It will make it easier for students to create a space that feels like home.
Glicksberg and Surratt have been seeing a lot of bean bags and couches in recent years.
"Usually the couches will appear like two months in," Glicksberg said. The roommates have bunked their beds and "they're like, 'Hey, we have a couch - I have this couch at home we can use. We can put it up.' " And with the video game consoles and the huge flat-screen computers and TVs some students bring, an entertainment center is born. Glicksberg calls it a man cave.
Whatever feels like home. Just make sure students coordinate with their roommates ahead of time. There's no sense in bringing two huge flat-screens, and no dorm room needs two futons.
And by all means, Glicksberg said, "Get here early." Students who arrive early to their dorm on move-in day are able to assess what they need and will be quicker to hit up the stores "before all the good stuff is gone."
Dorm dos, don’ts
Do think of your dorm like a home away from home.
Don't bring so many things that moving out will be a pain.
Do talk to your roommate ahead of time to discuss who is bringing the big items, décor ideas and even arrival times.
Don't bring the lava lamp. Leave all items with open heat elements, including grills, toasters and candles at home.
Do invest in some fragrance plug-ins.
Do be creative in your decoration, but leave the ceiling alone, says TU Associate Director of Housing Mark Bernhardt.
Do consider bed risers - not cinder blocks - if you want to maximize under-bed storage space.
Don't forget some things can be bought once you get to your college town. Just try not to make the list too long.
Do read your school's policy on what is permitted in the dorm you're moving into.
List of the essentials
Whether students are soon off to school locally or elsewhere, a few items are essential.
Alarm clock: One with an LCD screen will allow a student to know what time it is even in the early fog of the morning.
Bathrobe: Those halls can feel mighty drafty after a shower.
Decor: pictures, posters, art, whatever is your fancy and makes you feel at home and in a space that's yours for the year
Dry snacks: and a sealable container to stow them in
Entertainment equipment: be it iHome, game consoles, board games
Extra lamp: Make it cool and non-halogen. That overfluorescent light that every dorm room seems to come with is a bit unforgiving.
First-aid kit and medicine: The random time you'll need it, you'll be relieved you brought it along.
Full-length mirror: Check to see if one is installed in the room, but you'll want this.
Iron, hamper/laundry basket
Microwave: Chat with your roommate so you don't have one too many if this is a necessity. Also check with your school's policy.
Personal papers: copy of your birth certificate, your passport, etc.
Plastic storage containers: Consider buying these once you know the size of the space you'll be working with.
Power strip: You'll absolutely need one if you've got a lot of computer equipment and gadgets.
Refrigerator: Talk about this with your roommate and also check your school's rules on this.
Removable mounting tape
Shower tote: It's convenient, keeps things in one place and your stuff from being confused with someone else's.
Utensils: just a few, to enjoy your dorm fare properly in the rare event that extra studying means you can't make it to the cafeteria
White board: Big or small, these can help with scheduling and or provide a place for new friends to say they've dropped by.
According to the housing
directors, dorm life isn’t too different
from years past, but the
items students are bringing to
school these days are a sure sign
of these tech’d out and spaceoptimizing
Fewer textbooks on shelves. More textbooks are available
in digital formats such as for
Kindles, Nooks and iPads.
“Consequently, instead of
seeing bookcases lined with
textbooks, we are seeing bookcases
lined with DVDs and video
games,” said Tammie Willis,
assistant director of residence life
at Northeastern State University.
Fewer boomboxes and other
clunky entertainment items. Radios,
computers and TVs have all gotten
smaller, “and that’s a good
thing,” said Mark Bernhardt,
associate director of housing at
the University of Tulsa. “The main
thing that is different is students
don’t bring the huge stereos
Original Print Headline: Dorm decor
Bravetta Hassell 918-581-8316
Lindsay Glicksberg is a resident adviser in the Fisher Hall South dorm at the University of Tulsa. TOM GILBERT / Tulsa World
Senior Lindsay Glicksberg recommends students personalize their dorm space so they're more comfortable. TOM GILBERT / Tulsa World
Removable wall decals are a quick and easy way to personalize your room. WallCandy Arts Dottilicious Removable Wall Decals by Wayfair are $54. Courtesy
Highly wired students will need a power strip to keep all their devices running. Hydrofarm Tower of Power power strip by Wayfair is $38.99. Courtesy