I tried holding off writing this post because who wants to be reminded about school over summer break? Seriously, don't you want to just smack people who talk about grades over summer break? Or really any time? But I think I've held off for long enough. It's already the end of July, and I have to be back at school by August 21 for dorm leadership training and classes start on September 2. Better to be prepared than in denial and then have school hit you like a bus! But let's not get all down in the dumps. Getting ready for the school year can be quite exciting, especially with a dorm room to decorate...
I lived in a double last year, but as a Peer Mentor this coming year, I will be in a single. Last year my fabulous roomie did all the decorating--my half of the room was naked in comparison for reasons--but this year I'm taking charge, since, well, I don't have a roomie to mooch off of anymore. I've been waiting for this in eager anticipation even before the school year ended, channeling my energy by creating mood boards with Tumblr and Pinterest. When creating a palette, find indirect inspiration.
There isn't a lot of space in a college dorm room, so you'll have to make the most of it. We're all familiar with the idea of exposed storage, perhaps displaying clothes on a bellhop instead of stuffing them in your closet (x) (x) (x) (x) (x) (x), but have you ever thought about hanging things on rebar? I also love how Sebastian sticks his notes upon hanging brown wrapping paper rather than traditional cork board, although I'd never say no to a cork board wall. Spruce up your wall by turning it into a gallery.
The most effective way to free up space in your room is to go minimal and simplify your life. There's a bunch of junk in my room at home, and I brought a fair amount of it with me to college. I didn't notice how much I had until I needed to pack everything up in boxes for storage at the end of the school year. I was able to weed out my things by keeping only what sparks joy, but I still have some excess goods to sort through. Over my next three years of college, there will without a doubt be keepsakes I'll want to hold onto, but my advice is to collect experiences, not things. With oversized photo booth prints?
It's almost torture every time a recipe pops up on my Bloglovin' feed because, living on campus, I don't have convenient access to a kitchen. All I have is the kettle in my room and the microwave, toaster, and refrigerator in the pantry hall. To save us the fate of munching on nothing but cereal all day because we can't bother walking to the dining hall, I've rounded up some heaven-sent no-bake/cook/etc. recipes.
And what's college without alcohol? Jk, I don't drink, but it's cool that I have the option to. Well actually I legally don't, but people don't reallyyyy expect you to abide that. Okay maybe they do but whatever. These double-stuffed Oreo Jell-O shots are sure to be a hit. If you're going for sophistication, perhaps pair your wine with fancy cheese balls. For those who want to live on the safe side of things but still want to have fun, here's a quick guide to making any kind of mocktail, with a few recipes to get you started. A healthier option would be this budget juicing recipe. Or go really healthy with a salad jar.
I haven't had any responsibilities this summer. My days are a blur of TV shows (I've burned through House and The 100, and I'm making my way through Downton Abbey), photo editing, reading, and Goldfish. I'm a little worried how I'm going to get back in the swing of things once the school year starts. Chances are I'll be slumping all day, so I've condensed some productivity tips for quick motivation:
Being in a rigorous academic environment away from home can get even the best of us. Believe in yourself and all that you are. Don't fall prey to the imposter syndrome. You chose this school and they chose you. You deserve to be here. Of course it's natural to be scared, and in fact, if you're not scared, you're not doing it right, because all the best things involve taking a risk.
Nowadays there's more online transparency about anxiety disorder, so we understand that for some people it's not as simple as telling yourself to calm down, that everything will be okay. I get anxious now and then, but I wouldn't say that I suffer from anxiety. I can't empathize and say that I know what it's like, so I've found some tips from people who might have a better understanding of it than I do.
Suspend mis-belief: "The things happening in the world around us don't revolve around us, and aren't part of a story. They're just happening. Often, it's all random, but to deal with this chaos, we try to make sense of it as part of a story. We create meaning where none exists."
This reminds me of a quote I discovered via Marevoli by John Corey Whaley: "Life, he says, doesn't have to be so bad all the time. We don't have to be anxious about everything. We can just be. We can get up, anticipate that the day will probably have a few good moments and a few bad ones, and then just deal with it. Take it all in and deal as best we can."
Dat leap doe. I hope it put you in the mood for approaching strangers and making new friends. I know that I need as much encouragement for this as I can get, so maybe you do too. I grew up with the same people from fifth grade until twelfth, never changing schools as mine ran from pre-K to twelfth, so I didn't need to worry about making/having friends for eight years. I didn't need to try. I could be totally and completely myself. They'd understand if I didn't want to go out, without thinking any less of me.
But now really calls for all the extrovert in me. My chapter leader was driving me back from Chapter Camp, and, you know road trips, we got to know a little more about each other. I've always thought that she was an extrovert, but I found out that there's more to her than meets the eye, as there usually is with anybody. She told me that at heart she's an introvert, but she can be an extrovert when she needs to be, because that's the kind of character her job calls for. It's not that an introvert shouldn't be themself, but that a little step out of their mind is helpful in reaching out to others and bringing them in.
During my first few weeks of college, I, alone, would sometimes sit with people (and even groups of people) I didn't know. I just walked right up to them, asked if I could take the empty seat, and introduced myself as a helpless first year. That was usually enough to spark conversation and it was what I relied on. I'm so glad I had the balls to do that as the new girl. Now I'm a sophomore so I can't really play that card, and sometimes I'm the one introducing people rather than the one meeting someone new.
Still, my greatest fear is not having anything to say, especially with people I don't know. Even with people I do know, I'll ask them how they're doing, they'll say they're fine, and in my head I'll be like, okay cool, nice talking to you too, so next time, instead try asking, "What did you do today?" For more conversational tips, check out these 9 TED Talks to inspire smart conversation. If all else fails, you could make a fun placemat that gives you potential topics to begin conversations with. lol