Marissa Roeske
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How to... Survive Life in a College Dorm

From Someone who Has Been There and Done That

College can be hard. Sure, some of you reading this are probably thinking, "She's crazy! College was the best four years of my life!" But others understand what I am saying. It can be hard moving out of your hometown. It can be hard moving away from your family. It can be hard moving away from your friends. It can be hard moving away from your pets. It can be hard moving into a tiny dorm with a complete stranger. It can be hard taking college classes. College can be hard. So what can you do to make college a little bit easier? Making dorm life more tolerable is a great place to start! You can do this pretty easily, so for starters...

1. Get some plants.

Seriously. I'm not saying you should make your dorm room look like a greenhouse or anything, but a few low-maintenance houseplants that can sit on the windowsill and don't require a botany degree to keep alive can really brighten up a space. Plus, there are a bunch of plants that help filter the air like Boston Ferns, Snake Plants, and Spider Plants.

2. Get some fish.

Take full advantage of your college's fish policy! You don't need to go all out with a big, extravagant fish tank—just keep it simple with a little fish bowl, some colorful gravel, a couple fake plants, and some small fish. My personal favorite are guppies because they require very little as far as care goes (seriously, my guppies lived through the three week Winter Break with no food and only about half a bowl of water). Guppies are also cool because if you get a male and a female, you'll end up with little baby guppies. They're like the fish that keep on giving!

3. Make sure you have some things that help you relax scattered throughout your dorm.

For me, this meant an essential oil diffuser, a Himalayan salt lamp, and a ton of pictures of my dogs. I also tried to keep a little tub and some scented Epsom salts on hand so if I was feeling extra stressed, I could do a foot soak.

4. Decorate for the holidays.

This super simple thing can make a college dorm feel a little more homey. Put the tiny decorative pumpkins out around Halloween. Put up some tinsel or Christmas lights around Christmas time. Heck, put up a little fake Christmas tree if you want! (I did). Even window clings can help spice up your dorm a little bit.

5. Get out of your room when you can!

For real. Be social. Don't be the hermit that sits in your room and doesn't make any friends or do anything fun. Don't be the kid that's glued to video games. Get out there! Make friends! Go on adventures in your new (temporary) town! It will honestly make dorm life so much better if you get out of the dorm. 

6. Try to keep things civil with your roomie.

I'm not saying you have to be best friends with your roommate, because I sure wasn't even a little bit friends with my first three roommates, but at least try to stay on good terms so you can communicate with your roommate(s) about what is bothering you.

7. Make sure you are considerate.

You don't want to be the jerk that's making other people hate living in your dorm room or the rooms around you. You don't want to make enemies—and the easiest way to not make enemies is to make sure you're being considerate.

8. Make something warm and homey to eat once in a while.

If you have access to a kitchen, get together with some friends and you can all pitch in to make a home-cooked meal, because let's be honest here, cafeteria food really sucks sometimes. If you don't have access to a kitchen, use the microwave. You can make a lot of yummy little mug desserts in the comfort of your college dorm room—just Google it!

9. Remember it's only temporary.

College is four years of your life that you're never going to get back, so you need to make the most of it while you're there. Do your best to make sure living in a dorm isn't your version of a living Hell. And know that you're not the only one that's missing home or that hates living in a dorm. You are not alone!

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