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My first year in college, I brought almost no decorations for my dorm room. I told myself that it was just a space that I shared with three other women and would only be occupying for a few months. There was no sense putting anything up on the walls or printing any pictures of my friends because the room didn’t really feel like mine. As my first year went on, I realized that, while the room certainly was not a permanent residence, it was a place I would be the majority of the year – and that made it worth making it a home. For my sophomore year, I decided to do everything I could to make the space feel like a home and not just an assigned space to sleep and store my things. Here are some of the things I did to transform my space:

Print pictures of friends

My first year, I saw lots of women in my hall had photos printed of their friends at home or new friends at college, but I never printed any. This year, I printed out lots of photos of my friends, and I hung them on my fridge so that I am reminded of the women who care so much about me and the happy memories we have made each time I pass my fridge or get some coffee or a snack.

Bring or hang religious items

My faith is incredibly important to me, so this was one thing I did do my first year. I hung a stunning image of the Blessed Virgin Mary right above my bed, which is where she is this year as well. This year, I added a small wind chime with a cross near Mary, and the chimes occasionally make a lovely sound when I have the window open.

decorate your walls with art

My sophomore year room theme is cows (a nod to my home state, Kansas), so I have several paintings of cows hung on my walls and around my room. I think that cows are adorable when they sit, so there are several images of cows sitting on sofas around my room. There is also a beautiful painting of a longhorn on wood and a cow with a crown of flowers.

Get bedding and pillows that you make you happy and comfy

Sleeping at college is certainly different – there are new sounds and conditions to get used to. Having an extra cozy space to retire to each night definitely makes the adjustment easier. Having a comforter and decorative pillows that make you smile can help to make your space feel like home!

don’t be afraid to bring a stuffed animal

If you like sleeping with a stuffed animal at night, bring one along with you to school! There is no shame in it all – stuffed animals are rather adorable. In fact, most of my friends have a stuffed animal with them at school. One night, we actually had a movie night where we all brought our college stuffed animals with us!

Bring a “happy light!”

My HappyLight does wonders in improving my mood – particularly in the winter months as I endure the Midwest permacloud. A HappyLight is a light therapy product that helps improve mood and can alleviate symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). With different options for tones of colors, brightness and a timer, the HappyLight does wonders in helping me to stay happy as I do homework at my desk.

Learn from me – your college dorm is not just an assigned space. Even if it seems like it is nothing more at first, your dorm room becomes your new home! This means it is absolutely worth investing in making it a happy space that feels like a home to you. I hope these tips encourage you to make sure your space becomes your own happy place. Know that you are loved, dear reader.



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Victoria Lyczak

Notre Dame '24

Victoria Lyczak is a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame where she studies management consulting and theology. She is a lover of organization, fashion, hair, makeup, and all things that have to do with singing, dancing, and choreographing. She also loves making and eating all kinds of baked goods and desserts.
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