The dormitory or “dorm” is most likely going to be your home for the first year or more at college. Dorms are almost always tiny and to make matters worse: shared with a roommate. They also have the double duty of being your study space much of the time. In order to get through your college degree and maintain sanity, an organized, functioning space to study in your dorm is crucial. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Banish clutter from your work environment. A cluttered desk leads to a cluttered mind and there is absolutely no room for excess junk in your brain when you are trying to learn. Clear off the table anything that is not essential to your work. This includes knickknacks, smartphones and photos. By only having on hand what you need for your studies, you will be much more likely to focus on the course work.
Block out as much noise as possible. Admittedly, a first-year college dorm can be a party house so it can be very difficult to have any quiet. If you live in a particularly loud dorm, you may want to consider an alternate study space such as the library, student center or a friend’s house. Unfortunately, due to late nights and schedules this won’t always be possible. Your best bet is to invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to block out the unwanted sounds. Listening to white noise or soft, instrumental music can help avoid distractions from the sounds from inside an outside of your dorm room.
Keep your belongings to a minimum. When packing for school, ask yourself if you really need all those shoes, games consoles and gadgets. There is a good chance your dorm room will be significantly smaller than your bedroom at home so you’ll need to be realistic about what you can fit. Pick up a few storage boxes and shelves to help organize what you do decide to bring with you. Time spent cleaning and trying to find a space for things is time spend away from your studies.
Perhaps the biggest challenge to keeping your dorm a haven for studying is convincing your roommate to do the same. If you have a choice in roommates, chose someone who fits your study-style more so then deciding based on friendship. You will have lots of friends nearby; you don’t necessarily need to live with them. If, in the worst-case scenario, you are forced to live with a slob, all hope is not lost. Simply establish a few ground rules right off the bat and explain to your new roomy why keeping the place tidy will benefit you both. Hopefully he or she will be motivated to keep the dorm straight with the promise of better grades.