Oberlin Blogs

Class of 2017: Keep Calm and Read On

July 26, 2013

Karalyn Grimes ’16

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?

Responses to this Entry

Bookshelves! Thank you for reminding me of this. I'll do that isntead of complaining that I can't bring my cool handpainted Ikea shelves. (I'll still be a little sad about that. Maybe I'll paint a bookshelf instead.)

Posted by: Jenny on July 26, 2013 2:45 PM

Remember when we tried to put up Christmas lights in Kwood once? I'm definitely doing that now that I can :3 It's going to look absolutely amazing.

Posted by: Romina on July 26, 2013 2:57 PM

That manatee photo made me really happy :) Also, this is way off topic, but how is the environmental studies major? I really want to double major in that and biochemistry, but after looking at the course catalog, I'm thinking I might need to minor in it.

Posted by: Adam on July 26, 2013 9:58 PM

Hey Adam! I have no comment on the blog, but I'm currently double majoring in Biochemistry and Environmental Studies, so if you want to talk about it, feel free to email me at my Oberlin email. hezcurra + the normal Obie email ending.

Posted by: Ary on July 27, 2013 3:41 AM

Those kids in the suspenders are too cool!! I hope I become their best friends. OMG.

Posted by: Anonymous on July 27, 2013 3:48 PM

@Adam: Thanks for your comment! I've really enjoyed my experience with the ENVS department. When you're an ES major you declare, you get an advisor, you select a pathway within the program when you declare, you have major requirements, and eventually you do a capstone project.
Having a cross-divisional major like ENVS is great because within your major requirements you've got most of your graduation requirements as well.
Advising works differently in ENVS than in other majors; many professors outside of the ENVS department, who for whatever reason have a background or interest in your pathway within the department, can be your advisor. The advisors I've interacted with are amazing and dedicated professors who also do incredible things in their field and on top of that are delightfully interesting people who, I've found, host accessible and awesome office hours. So that's a major plus.
I will say that getting into ES classes can be really frustrating because they do let majors get in to required classes first (hence why I'm declaring early), but I successfully got in to ENVS 101 my first semester and that's been my favorite class at Oberlin thus far.
Additionally, a lot of classes are housed in the AJLC, which is, by far, the best building on campus.
I hope that at leasts partly covered what you were looking for and I encourage you to write me or Ary with more questions!

Posted by: Karalyn on July 27, 2013 5:48 PM

I always wondered how Anders kept those lights up! And still don't quite understand how those hooks were adequate to do it.

Posted by: Kate on July 28, 2013 2:51 AM

Thank you so much! That helps a lot! :)

Posted by: Adam on July 28, 2013 5:01 PM

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