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How to Survive Life on the Top Bunk

We are almost a month away from the return to school, and there are two types of people right now. You are either thinking deeply about returning to school, planning everything — or school couldn’t be farther from your mind, and you just want me to shut up. Clearly, by writing this article, I have shown myself to be the former, so I’m here to help you before you even think about needing help.

This upcoming year I am unlucky enough to be on the top bunk. It is a fate I have escaped for the past two years, and my time has finally come. As you can see, I have mixed emotions about living sky high. Most people do. There are several pros and cons to consider. On the bright side, you have a nice view of your room and can tower above your roommates. Honestly, it’s a power move. Whoever is on the bottom bunk is forced to sleep knowing you’re above them, listening to every toss and turn you have, hoping that the bed won’t crash down on them while they sleep. You can also hide whatever you want up there that no one can see. So, in some ways, you are the winner.

On the negative side, getting in and out of bed will be a hassle since you need to climb the dreaded ladder. Everyone knows that feeling when you finally get comfy in your bed and then realize that whatever you needed was across the room. Adding a ladder to the equation can be frustrating. Making your bed can also be a struggle. Every time you want to relax in some fresh, clean sheets, you have to perform a Cirque du Soleil performance high off the ground. Lastly, no nightstand could possibly reach the great height that is your bunk bed. This gives you nowhere to place your phone, drink, book, or the many other things that you like to have within reach.

Regardless of whether you wanted the top bunk or not, it’ll be an experience you’ll never forget. Whether you love it or hate it, I’m here to help you. I’ve looked into numerous different tips for how to survive the top bunk. Look below to see the most common tips and tricks to make the most of your space.

1. bedside caddy

This is the absolute most important thing I could tell you to get. The storage this provides is unmatched. This will hang off the side of your bunk and provide storage for your phone, books, notebooks, whatever. Mine even holds my extension cord. This hack will make life on the top bunk astronomically easier.

2. chair pillow

Even if you don’t have the top bunk, this is a necessity. If you ever want to do work in your bed or honestly even sit up, then you need this. Nothing destroys your back like leaning against the cold, hard wall of your dorm. A chair pillow will help bring some comfort back to your bed, whether you’re doing homework, reading, or watching your favorite show.

3. bedside tray

Like the bedside caddy, this tray provides more storage for you to keep your things near you. It can be the perfect place to keep your phone or drink right next to you while you sleep. It makes up for the fact that you don’t have a nightstand! You will want as much storage as possible while you’re up there.

4. lap desk

You don’t need anything extravagant for this. The basic style of the hard surface with the two bean bag-type cushions underneath works the best. You can keep it on your bunk bed and not worry about it breaking if it falls. It allows you to do work easier from the comfort of your own bed.

5. clip-on light

The lighting in dorm rooms is always less than fantastic. It’s also common for each roommate to have their own mini light for those late-night study sessions that extend past everyone else’s bedtime. It’s nice to have a light that’s in your control, but on a bunk bed, where can you put it? With a clip-on light, the answer is easy — just clip it wherever you like.

6. extension cord

Extension cords are a must for all college students, especially when you’re high in the sky. Extension cords can help you reach that outlet far below. I recommend you find a bedside caddy that holds your extension cord. If not, no problem! Just use the command velcro strips and stick your extension cord to the side of your bed. Now you can plug in your phone, laptop, clock, etc., all from your bed.

7. clip-on fan

Much like the clip-on light, a clip-on fan allows you to save space and cool down when your dorm gets too hot. Move-in time is at the end of August, and if you’re on a higher floor, you might feel like you’re roasting in hell. No fan plugged in below will reach all the way up to you. This tiny device may very well save your life.

8. string lights

This goes back to the terrible lighting. You really cannot have enough extra lights. String lights will not only enhance the ambiance of your room but are functional as well. It will provide you extra light and make your bunk bed homier.

9. your favorite stuffed animals

Lastly, bring your favorite stuffed animals. If you’re embarrassed about the stuffed animals that have been on your bed for as long as you can remember, don’t be! You’re on the top bunk, and no one can see them anyway. You can keep pretty much whatever you want up there, and no one will know.

Samantha Dietel

Providence '23

Samantha Dietel is a junior Psychology and Elementary/Special Ed double major and is senior editor for the Providence chapter of HC. She loves to stay involved on campus and is a choreographer for Dance Club, participates in Active Minds, Education Club, PAWS, PC Pals, volunteers with Inspiring Minds, and is a member of the Psi Chi honor society. As a local near Providence, she enjoys guiding her friends around the city and showing them what it has to offer. Samantha also enjoys reading, spending time with friends, and a good binge-watch.
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