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How to Turn Your Dorm Into Your Own Personal Sanctuary

College is a lot to get used to, socially and academically. There are so many new things to learn. And then there’s the hardest thing: you are living in a completely new space. If you’re like me, then you are living far away from your parents now, and that means the safe space you once had at home isn’t so close anymore. However, with all the stress that college may bring, your dorm should not be one of them. This should be the space that you can come back to after a long day and just relax. This is easier said than done. You may be asking yourself “how can I make this MY space when there’s not that much… space?” Valid point. There are tons of ways to make your dorm into a place that feels safe and relaxing. Here are a few:

Get in tune with all your senses.

For your dorm to be a place that you actually like, you need to find something your senses will all love and cater to that. For sight: surround your dorm with things you love to look at. Whether that be pictures of your loved ones, your favorite color (especially ones that calm you down) or a cool piece of art; really whatever makes you feel calm and boosts your happiness the second you look at it! Also, add some relaxing lights. Maybe add a crystal lamp, some LEDs or some fairy lights. For hearing: make your dorm a space where you listen to your soothing music or watch your favorite show at the end of the day. Give yourself feel-good sounds in this space. For smell: surround the room with your favorite smell. You could use essential oils, an air freshener or even make your favorite snack so your room embodies that smell. For taste: always have your favorite food and drinks on standby. Make your dorm your space where you drink a cup of tea (where are my tea drinkers at??) or the place where you always have dessert! And finally, for touch: make sure your room has tons of things that feel soft. That can be a soft blanket, a fluffy rug or the most comfortable pair of pajamas.

Fill it with the things you love.
Dorm Plant
Original photo by Hannah Scheifele

The cool thing about having a dorm is this is your opportunity to completely revamp your space. Use that to your advantage! Give your room a total makeover and add in things that you love. The best way to do this is wall art. Hang up your favorite pics, your favorite music albums/celebrities, a post from your favorite TV show or a picture that you drew/painted. Put it all up on display! Have your favorite hobbies available to you: a journal for writing, a new book to read or your favorite craft. It is also helpful to add some life into your room, and by this, I mean plants. Adopting and taking care of plants have proven to increase serotonin and make you feel more connected with nature. They don’t have to be huge; a little plant can go a long way! When you have things you enjoy nearby, you will feel happier when you enter that space… which is the goal!

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT do work in bed.

I cannot emphasize this enough. The worst thing you could do is work in your bed. Trust me, I understand the temptation. It’s right there, one of the only pieces of furniture that you have, and it is soooo comfy. But it is a hard no. Even with limited space, it is crucial to separate work and relaxation. Your bed needs to be your place to relax. If you’re doing your homework in it… that is not very relaxing. Use your desk, a study room in your dorm hall, the library or a café to do your homework. The beauty of living on campus is you do have options, but your bed cannot be one of them.

Set boundaries with your roommate.

Whether you have or haven’t lived with someone before, you’ve likely never lived with someone this closely. And by ‘this closely’ I mean in the same room together, at all times, only a few feet apart from each other. For this reason, you and your roommate need to set boundaries. While you may not be able to have physical space from each other, you can definitely have emotional space. You can do this by taking nights to yourself and having a life without your roommate. Of course, it is important to have a good relationship with your roommate, and if you’re friends, even better! But if you don’t get some space from each other (even if it’s just not talking for an hour), you will get sick of each other… which can end badly!

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Hannah Scheifele is a writer from Tampa and is an English Education major at FSU. She cares deeply about the environment and likes to read, exercise, do yoga, take pictures, and sew/crochet in her free time! Feel free to reach out to her on insta @hannah.sch_<3
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