College Room Decoration

So, full disclosure: I watch a lot of HGTV. At this point, it’s really not just a hobby, but more of a lifestyle or a mindset. I mean, predicting which House Hunters property will win is my version of high adrenaline gambling. Oh, and don’t even get me started on a Property Brothers marathon, because I will be there all day as those crazy bros trick people into buying run-down houses with terrible infrastructure.

After years of watching HGTV with my family and friends, I’ve developed a love for all things home design. I’m enthralled by renovations, and thrilled by the prospect of furniture shopping. I live for a good DIY project, and almost even considered listing throw pillow arrangement on my resume. And while that’s all well and good, there’s traditionally not much room for such a decorating hobby in the college sphere. Living spaces are close and usually shared, the residences are impermanent, and the budget is tight.

A peek inside my apartment. Unless you don't like it in which case it's definitely somebody else's.

A peek inside my apartment. Unless you don’t like it, in which case it’s definitely somebody else’s.

But in my eyes, college is all about branching out on your own and making a life for yourself. And what better way to do that than by decorating your living space? So when I came to Drake, I knew I wanted to make my space my own and try to take residence hall and apartment living to the max. But I realize everyone is not the same. Some Drake students couldn’t care less about what their living space look like, while others like me may spend hours dreaming of a Home Goods shopping spree. The point is, that no matter who you are, you want to have a nice, comfortable place to live during your college years. Here’s my tips to help you do just that.

1. Make it Personal

Nobody wants to live in a boring, generic space. So make your room, apartment, or house about you. Hang up art, tape photos on the wall, display important objects, and work to create a style that’s all about you. It should be easy. After all, we’re millennials, so selfishness comes naturally, right?

2. Comfort Above All

There’s no doubt that college can be stressful. It’s important to have a comfortable place to come back to and relax after a long week of school, work, and activities. Make sure you have plenty of comfortable seating for yourself and friends and cozy up your space with blankets and pillows. If I’ve learned one thing during my time at Drake, it’s that come the Iowa winter, you can never have enough chic (and warm) throws.

3. Build for the Future

While we’re only at college for a short while, soon we’ll all be out in the world looking to furnish our own apartments or houses (if all goes according to plan). So don’t only buy cheap furniture pieces designed for residence hall life. Invest in a couple of good, classic pieces of furniture like tables or a bookcase so you’ll have something to build your new, adult life around.

4. Design on a Dime

That being said, as college students, we’re not made of money. Most of us can’t afford to pop over to the Ethan Allen for a new armoire. Instead, be smart about your purchases. Shop around to find the lowest price, and never commit to anything for your space without thinking it over for a while. And may I recommend RetailMeNot Coupons, Target, and the clearance aisle?

5. Get the Essentials

Decorating for college rooms isn’t like decorating in the real world. There’s a smaller space and you can’t make any permanent changes, which does complicate the decorating process. But stock up on some important tools like command strips, painter’s tape, and magnets to spruce up your space without leaving a mark.

Last First Day of School

When you think about it, today’s kind of a big milestone. It’s my last ever first day of school. Sure, I’ll have next semester, but this is the final time I’ll get that August back-to-school experience with the summer weather, the new notebooks, and the promise of a whole new year in front of me. In honor of the occasion, I even did a little math, and turns out this is my 17th first day of school (I think). Anyway, feel free to alert the media. It’s kind of a big deal.

You would think that after being in school for so long the novelty would eventually wear off. But honestly, it really has not. Today I find myself just as nervous and excited as I was prior to my first year at Drake or even my first year at high school. I’m a little unsettled, a tad jittery, and ready to get to class 30 minutes ahead of time. I mean, I won’t. I’m gonna play it cool and just get there 20 minutes early.

But I’m not the only one who’s excited today. Campus is absolutely buzzing with Drake students, both new and old, who are genuinely happy to be back on campus. As classes kick off today, we have the opportunity to meet new people, learn new things, and share new experiences. Thus, though we’ve all been at school for years, Drake still manages to make the first day new again. I think it’s a pretty unique experience to be able to say that even the seniors feel invigorated and ready to go come the end of August. But I think that phenomenon is due to the element of the unexpected inherent in the college experience and especially the Drake experience. There’s always surprise classes you end up loving or an activity you joined on a whim. There’s people you never thought you’d become friends with and unexpected moments waiting around every corner. Not in a scary way, but in a fun way. The reason I and so many others are excited and nervous today is because we can’t predict what’s coming this year at Drake.  But I can’t wait to find out.

Senior Moment

I realize it’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but in my defense, I have been very busy doing some very important things. Okay, mainly I’ve just been moving back to Des Moines, but that is important. Anyway, now that I’m back at Drake and getting settled in for my final year, it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that…this is my final year.

It’s something I’ve logically known for a while. I mean I’m no math genius, but I can (usually) count to four. As anyone will tell you though, there’s a huge difference between knowing something is true and feeling the truth of it. And the later half of that process is only now starting to sink in for me.

After a summer full of talking about my senior status, I should’ve been prepared. Everyone from my family and friends to even my dentist have asked me “How are you felling about your senior year?” Honestly, I didn’t know what to tell them and I still don’t think I can articulate an answer. I’m feeling excited, worried, happy, nostalgic, and a whole mix of other things when I think about the months ahead. The only thing that really captures the shock I’m feeling is some expressions straight out of Scooby Doo. If “jinkies!” were more socially acceptable, I’d probably use that to explain my pre-senior year thoughts.

And while it’s been a pretty great journey at Drake so far, I also have to remember that’s it’s not over yet. There’s plenty of learning, work, activities, friends, and fun in store for me this year. So for now, I’m gonna stop trying to think about how I’m feeling or will be feeling and just enjoy the ride.

College Packing Tips

Full disclosure: I am not the best packer. You’d think with three plus year of experience moving back and forth from Drake I’d get the hang of it, but I really haven’t. Yet, there are extenuating circumstances. To put it delicately, I’m not exactly a minimalist, and to just be honest, I have a lot of stuff. I mean, there’s no need to call Hoarders or anything, it’s just that like any good American, I like my material things. And by the time I get all my books and clothes and throw pillows together, it’s pretty much a carful. But luckily, I have learned a few things along the way to make the process a little smoother. And as I prepare to move back to Drake for the final time, I realize how far I’ve come since my first year move-in. I now attempt to share some of that wisdom in the hopes that it will spare some of the pains of packing.

 Do Bring: 

  •  Command Strips  All of the Command Strips. I know I sound like a 3M commercial right now, but these thing are storage lifesavers and the only effective way to decorate your college room.
  • Cart or dolly  This one we all took a little while to learn, but by the time I moved out last year, they were everywhere. Grab one from the Home Depot and load up all your boxes and bins straight from the car. It will save you time, energy, and probably some back injuries.
  •  Rain Boots Let me tell you something, the rain really does fall mainly on the plain. And that plain is Iowa.Walking around campus, you’ll want some sturdy rain shoes to stand up to the elements.

Don’t Bring

  • All of the books you’ve ever read Now as an English major, this one is tough for me. Obviously, my books are necessary tools of the trade. But just pare it down a little. And if you do end up bringing a lot of books, don’t try to pack them all in the same boxes. That might sound obvious, but it was not so clear to a certain Drake sophomore a couple years ago.
  • 8 different pairs of sandals You’re really not going to wear all those sandals.
  • T-shirts Okay, maybe bring a few t-shirts. But believe me, the college experience is good for nothing if not copious amounts of free t-shirts.