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How to make your dorm your own

Moving away from home for the first time is an exciting and scary adventure. On one hand, you finally have independence from your parents, but then you have to make sure you can actually take care of yourself. Creating a fun and organized dorm room is the way to make that happen.

The first step when moving into a dorm room is to assess the size of the room and figure out what fits in the small space. I had my own room in residence and it came with a twin bed, dresser, and desk. It was literally the size of a closet (honestly, I was just glad I had my own room). Here are a few tips from a university veteran.

Photo by Marco Derksen
Photo by Marco Derksen
  1. Good vibes

By creating a room with colourful and dynamic art, it makes an open and enjoyable space that classmates and friends can also enjoy. When I moved into residence, I was a poor student and had to be creative with my decorating skills. I purchased an art magazine called Juxtapose and hung all of the art on my door and walls, creating a collage. I still use some of these art pieces today. Most campuses in Ontario have poster sales if you are looking for something specific. If you do have to share a room, try using a nice fabric or sheet to separate the space and make it more private. You can also buy a funky bedspread and pillows to make the space even more dynamic.

  1. Ways to leave a note

Another decorating trick is to create a message board. I used a roll of blank white paper on a wall to create a writing area for people to sign and leave messages after they stop by. I also used it to write poems and do drawings when I had a sudden burst of inspiration. These papers are now a memento of my first few years at university.  You can also hang a whiteboard or chalkboard if you prefer. Having a message area is also a fun way for your friends to leave notes at your dorm if you aren’t there, and also so floor mates can inform you of parties and get-togethers.

2011-Master-Closet-Organizer-014

  1. Closet organizers

A closet organizer is a must in a tiny room. These hanging units take up virtually no space and help to keep clothes and personal items organized and off the ground. Be sure to keep the area organized though as the compartments can get quite messy if you pile on extra items or random knick knacks. I personally used my closet organizer for undergarments because these items are small and get easily lost if not in a contained area. These organizers come in a variety of styles and sizes, and can be quite stylish.

 

  1. A wall calendar

University can be chaotic and busy, and having a place in front of your desk with your tests and activities written down is a good way to remember your schedule. I had a large calendar and could record everything from a friend’s kegger to the midterm the next day (hopefully not). Having deadlines visible on a daily basis helped me remember what needed to be done and alleviated stress.

  1. Under the bed storage

Dorm rooms have limited space, so make sure to utilize the space under your bed. Get some short and wide boxes for seasonal clothing or use it to store smaller things like extra toothpaste, Tylenol, and socks. This is also a great spot to store secret snacks when you get the munchies.

Decorating gives character to a room, making it friendly and inviting. It will also make it feel more personal if you feel homesick. Being organized will help you succeed at the “school” part of living in residence (smaller priority sometimes), while the more personal touches will make the tiny room seem like home.

How would you decorate and organize your dorm room? Let Women’s Post know in the comments below.

How to make moving schools an adventure

Moving schools as a kid can be daunting and scary. It can also be daunting as a parent, watching your child walk away into a new place.

My daughter and I are moving across town and she will be starting a new school in a week. It is going to be a tough transition from school to school, but I have a few ideas on how to make the change smoother. The number one priority for me is making sure my daughter feels that moving is an adventure rather than a terrifying reality. I’ve been really positive about the move every time we talk about it (though as we all know, moving can be VERY stressful), and I tell her the fun and new recreational activities and school events she will be a part of in our new neighbourhood.

In a sense I feel like a real estate agent who is selling the neighbourhood to a five-year old. She’s had the official tour of the street, seen the school, and I’m taking her along with us through all the steps so that she feels involved. Oftentimes, I think what scares children is feeling out of control of their own lives. As parents, we take our children from place to place without considering their choices. Though I can’t let my kindergartener make our life decisions, I can make her feel like she is a part of the change. When it comes to my daughter’s new recreation activities, it is her choice.  She gets to feel like she is in control.

Another way to help children move is to listen to how they feel about it. I like to get down on my daughter’s level (my little three-footer) and ask her how she is doing. Sharing feelings is empowering and often helps more than faking it. I’ve always asked my daughter how she feels, and it helps her feel better. She has admitted she is sad about leaving her friends at school, for example, and I responded by saying that is okay. I let her know it is perfectly acceptable to express tough emotions and responding to them is the best way to show empathy for her feelings. After discovering she is sad about leaving, I asked her if visiting her friends at her old school would make her feel better. She decided that was a good idea, and felt better after we talked and made a plan.

If kids can’t visit their old school, another method is to give your child a picture of their old school, or to make sure that your child can stay in touch with friends after you part ways. This helps the transition and makes kids feel they aren’t losing their whole lives. I have a pretty social child, but if you have a shy kid then sometimes drawing a picture also helps to communicate the feelings surrounding the move.

Even if all of these steps are taken, the reality is that the first few weeks of school will still be difficult. Change is hard, and being surrounded with new children is a transition. I plan on being very patient with my daughter in the first couple weeks of school, and if she is more testy than usual, it will be easy to see why. With social children, I hope she will make friends. If she is struggling though, planning a playdate with another child or joining activities with other kids from the school might help her along in her adjustment.

At the end of the day, change is a part of life, and all of us big and small have to figure out how to adjust to it. Even though I can still take every step possible to make sure my daughter is protected from feeling the negative side effects of moving, she has to experience it for herself. The best I can do as a mom is to love her and support her however she needs. I know I’ll tell her on the way to school that she is a great little girl and doesn’t need to worry. If she struggles to make friends at first, I’ll sit down and play dolls with her more often than usual to make her feel better. No matter what, she has me and everything else will fall into place naturally if she has support and love by her side.

What do you think is the most important step to take when moving kids from school to school? Let Women’s Post know in the comments below.

Your guide to back-to-school fashion

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That’s right, it’s time to go back to school!

In just under a week, kids of all ages will be pilling on to busses to be shuttled all over the city. Some may be excited, other’s terrified, but the one thing everyone will have in common is a desire to look good on the first day of school. But, what’s in? What should your kids be wearing this fall? Women’s Post has a few ideas:

For younger children, the freedom of being able to dress themselves may lead to some interesting combinations. If your child really wants to wear polka-dot leggings and a stripped shirt, who are you to argue? But, if they do ask for your input, it’s good to have a few outfits on hand.

Layers are perfect for class and recess. Try jean jackets — they go with everything and you can find them in all sorts of colours and styles. Don’t be afraid to be colourful and fun!

 

Smocked Boho Swing Top for Girls - Orange Floral
Smocked Boho Swing Top for Girls – Orange Floral
Gap, $59.99
Gap, $59.99
Converse, $64.99
Converse, $64.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a new type of pressure for high school kids. No one wants to look like a dork wandering the halls on their first day of classes. For high schoolers, Women’s Post suggests keeping it simple — Printed tees, for example, with sayings that express your personality. Pair it with some funky jewelry or a funky jacket, jeans, and some rockin’ shoes. Trade in those runners for heels for a night out. An oversized sweater, with leggings or a skirt is a comfortable option for those long study sessions.

 

Torrid, $34.50
Torrid, $34.50
H&M, $19.99
H&M, $19.99
Staples, $119.99
Staples, $119.99

 

 

 

 

 

Heading to university this September? Remember to dress to impress — but it’s also okay to remain casual. Your best bet is to get clothing that can be worn with dress pants on presentation days, and with ripped jeans for those early morning classes. There are a lot of really comfortable leggings and pants that can be thrown on with a nice shirt for ultimate

Backpacks are critical. You may be spending an entire day on campus, running from one end to another with a computer in toe. Make sure you get a bag that is both stylish and practical. Over the arm bags can hurt your back if you aren’t careful, so try the traditional backpack route. Luckily, there are a lot of really great ones out there that are perfect for both the classroom and the interview room.

Note: no matter what other people say, do NOT wear pyjamas to class. Sweatpants or oversized hoodies are fine, but PJs are just tacky.

Aldo, $55
Aldo, $55
H&M, $19.99
H&M, $19.99
Mango, $34.95
Mango, $34.95

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are you wearing come September? Let us know in the comments below!