Hi! My name is Kirsten Scales and I graduated from Stetson University in 2013 with a BA in Communication and Media Studies, as well as a minor in Education. I am originally from Miami, Florida and currently reside and work in Los Angeles, California!
The summer before my senior year, I found myself counseling my younger brother on college do’s and don’ts. He was about to enter his freshmen year and packing the essentials. The first thing I noticed he was doing was stacking a ton of books he wanted to bring with him. Aside from the fact that it made for a very heavy suitcase, I told him to scale it down to his favorite three. Why? I told him he won’t need them and he won’t read them. He’ll be far too busy gallivanting around, making new friends and going new places. And plus he’s going to college. There will be plenty of reading for him to do. My advice in a nutshell? Keep it simple.
Maybe your weakness isn’t books. You love… clothes (like me). Unless you’re by nature an extreme minimalist (I am one now), you think you need to bring every skirt, shirt, and dress you own just in case you’ll feel like wearing it one day. Excluding seasonal wear like jackets, scarves, boots (depending where you go to school), you shouldn’t bring anything that you aren’t consistently washing a.k.a. your favorite clothes.
A common misconception with school is that you want your dorm room to feel like ‘home’. You can accomplish this by surrounding yourself with your favorite things like posters, knick-knacks, clothes, books, and DVDs. But trust me when I say this, it is more fun to start from scratch. Think of your room as a blank slate. It’s a brand new year and you can do whatever you want with it. No need to crowd it with old leftovers. Save that for your room at home where you can bask in nostalgia.
Now I’m all for creativity. I don’t mean to make your dorm room look like a hospital room. That would be creepy and you’ll end up having no friends. By this I mean let the school year decorate. I recall going on random trips to Wal-Mart. I’d pick up a cool poster or a neat rug I happened upon. I would also decorate with the newest sorority stuff I received. It was fun because every year my room looked completely different. And at the end of the year, the stuff I was still obsessed with I took home. The stuff I wasn’t, I threw away or gave away. This guaranteed I kept it simple.
Now for you out-of-staters, I highly recommend this method for you. And even if you go to a school in the state you live in, like I did, it is still a good idea to toss that beanbag you got with your parents on that freshmen year trip to Target. Live more in the moment and ditch your old stuff. It’ll do wonders, I promise. College is about finding yourself, right? That’s the cliché. How can you do that when you’re repeating the same year over and over?
Your dorm room is your home away from home. Don’t squander this opportunity to do something unique. Keep it simple. Let the year take control.