This post is directed to the understandably frenzied Oberlin Class of 2017: I have been following your Facebook page, and babies, I see how anxious you all are about your roommates and it has me worried. I know that you're biting your nails and tearing your hair and nothing I say or do will stop you from your escalating feels, but I thought I would try to distract you, even if just for a second, from wondering about who you'll be living with by suggesting things to do with where you'll be living!
Here's some fun stuff to think about for your dorm room. Just some nice, calming ideas.
1. Dorm rooms should be really personalized. You don't want to feel like you live in a cement box, so TEAR DEM WALLS UP. Figuratively. I mean figuratively. But put up all the posters / magazine cut outs / hippie fabric wall hangings your hearts desire. Don't even worry about coordinating with your currently unknown roomie. Your wall space is yours. I like this website for those things that I can never quite decide if they're the perfect accent piece or reminders of my Aunt Gertrude's closet.
2. Use these things. They're your best friend.
3. To fridge or not to fridge?
It depends. I err towards not because all dorms and co-ops have kitchenettes with communal fridges where stealing really isn't a problem, and so it's better for the enviro to just go with no. But if you're the kind of person who needs to keep medication or your birth control chilled, or you drink tons of cold water late at night, or you want to have twenty Agave burrito perfections in your possession at all times, then I think you can rationalize giving yourself a fridge. I've done this for myself for next semester, but as an ES major I couldn't do it in good conscience without compromising. So I'm going to live with no lighting for the year. Come visit my cave in Hark 214. I'll at least be able to offer you a fresh beverage.
4. Rugs! Rugs are great at adding personality hiding stains. I recommend this especially for people who will be living in Harkness because our carpet leaves something to be desired.
5. Lighting. Despite my cave trolling, I am really serious about my dorm room lighting. There's nothing I hate more than having to be in a suffocating poorly lit space. The overhead lights provided in the dorms make me feel like I'm in a horror movie. So, here's my set-up: A multi-setting spider lamp, a desk lamp, a clip-on lamp for reading by my bed, and an additional string of lights around the mirror for decoration. Definitely minimum 3 lamps recommended. Another cool set up that my friend Anders implemented was stringing Christmas lights from his ceiling. His room was constantly the pinnacle of cleanliness and tasteful ambiance, so if that's the look you're going for, here's his room:
(Photo featuring Anders, his lovely lights, and the even lovelier Kaia. Note his lights are held up by #2 on this list. Photocred: Kaia Austin.)
6. Books. Books are the best way to decorate your dorm room. I don't recommend bringing a ton of excess stuff for your room (leave the hats and footstools and night stands and boyfriend pillows at home) but books are my one exception. For starters, there are bookshelves provided so you might as well use them. Feel free to be like me and bring an additional standing two. I like books because they
A. Nonchalantly show people who you are B. Are homey and comforting C. Are something to do on rainy days in bed D. Are a great conversation starter when you've perhaps brought someone back to your room and like me are awkward and now don't know what to do or say.
If you follow my foolproof tips, your rooms will be bastions of beauty and strength and welcome areas of retreat after long days spent in Mudd. Now just don't forget to leave on occasion and socialize. Or maybe even, dare I say it, talk to your roommate. There it is again. The R word. You'll find out soon, I swear it! IN THE MEANTIME HERE'S A MANATEE.
(Photocred: marinemammalblogger via tumblr)
I'm planning on posting a considerably more serious Part II to this, on particulars of actual dorms and roommate advice, after you get your assignments. Is there anything specific you want me to touch on?