BY MELISSA BURNS
For many students, their life at college is the first prolonged stay out of home. They are stuck in unfamiliar surroundings and have to adapt to conditions that are often annoying, unpleasant or simply too unusual for them for comfort. But why not try and adapt the surroundings to your taste a little bit as well? Here are seven things that can make life in your dorm room a little bit more comfortable and pleasant.
1. Potted Plants
Some believe them to be boring and mundane, but they really do liven up the place and give you something to care about besides yourself. In addition to that, you may grow something useful as well as pretty – herbs for cooking like basil or rosemary, for example. Just make sure they get a lot of light.
2. A Fine Mattress
Dorm beds are notorious for being unfit for human consumption in more ways than one. Thus, if you value the quality of your sleep, investment into a quality mattress doesn’t seem to be an outrageous waste. You will thank yourself every morning you wake up refreshed and rested instead of stiff and sore all over.
3. Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Quality headphones may seem like unforgivably expensive investment when you have a pretty tight budget, like most students do. However, they are a godsend when you live with an annoying roommate or loud neighbors or simply like to have an opportunity to deal with your own business whenever you want it and not when everything happens to be quiet. So, if you value your sanity and don’t want to end up murdering an especially obnoxious neighbor, better buy a pair.
4. Sleep Mask and Screen
Light is an important zeitgeber (an external cue that influences your body’s internal biorhythms), which everybody who ever tried to go to sleep with lights on knows. Having a sleep mask and/or a screen to separate your bed from the rest of the room when you try to get your forty winks will let you sleep whenever you want and need. Your roommate may be staying up all night – it won’t concern you at all.
5. Lofting Your Bed
It may be a little difficult to do, but payoffs are considerable. Raising your bed will create additional space you can use for keeping items that would otherwise clatter up the rest of the room when you don’t need them, like boxes with stuff you don’t need every day or even something larger, like a small desk or a couch.
6. Investing in Better Lighting
Default dorm lighting is always awful, no exceptions. However, your college years are also most likely to be the only period of your life when you don’t have to pay for utilities – which means that you needn’t care about electricity bills and can outfit your room with any lighting you want. There are tons of options that will turn your room into a brightly lighted place where you can read small print at any time of night and day. Your eyesight will be grateful.
In addition to making a room immediately look larger than it is in reality, mirrors reflect light, further helping with your endeavors in this area. Putting them across from windows and near light sources will work wonderfully no matter what kind of room you have.
Life in a dorm doesn’t have to be miserable. You have a lot of freedom in organizing your environment, so don’t forgo an opportunity to spice things up whenever you can – as you can see from these tips, there are many ways to do so without going out of your way.
Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University in 2008. Nowadays she is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Her sphere of interests includes startups, information technologies and how these ones may be implemented.