Secrets to Surviving College from your Dorm Room | St. Lawrence University

Secrets to Surviving College from your Dorm Room

Friday, March 5, 2021

As we settle into many classes having to be done remotely and must stay within our dorm rooms much more than we could have ever guessed, it is easy for this all to catch up to us and get confusing! I know I struggled to adapt to this new life at school and figure out strategies that worked for me to be able to accomplish everything I needed to. Here is a list of the most important tips I have gathered to help survive college within your dorm room!

1. Do not study in bed 

This tip took me a little while to figure out freshman year as I just wanted to sit in my comfy bed and do my homework. However, this made me very tired quickly and it took way longer to focus myself and finally finish my homework as I was fighting off sleep! This also makes it harder to actually fall asleep at night since you have been in bed all day! You should only be in your bed to go to sleep so that you can concentrate on your work and be able to fall asleep later.

2. Make sure you have some good headphones

Having a roommate and doing remote classes can clash awkwardly if you both have classes at the same time. With remote classes being hard enough to focus on without the other distractions in your room, the last thing you need is to hear your roommate's class as well! A good set of headphones accomplishes this by muting outside sounds and allowing you to listen even better. If you both wear headphones in your classes, then it will make it easier to focus on your own classes!

3.  Have a clean desk

This was definitely a big struggle for me that I had to fix! In the past, my desk was used to hold my textbooks, random homework, and whatever else I dumped there because I didn’t know where else to put it. But as I mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t be doing homework and classes in bed, leaving you little choice but to use your desk. A messy desk makes you feel really closed in and distracted by the random objects on there. So, clean your desk and you'll have more than enough space to sit down, watch your class, and take notes where you’re not pressed for space. A clean desk is also huge mentally and makes you feel much more put together.

4. Make sure you get out of your room at some point during the day

With classes, homework, and sleep being done within the room, it is very easy to get caught there for the whole day without even realizing it. Two hour and a half classes, a few hours of homework and suddenly it’s 7 p.m. and you haven't left your room yet! I have experienced this every now and then and it’s easy to get into this habit of only leaving your room to get food now and then. However, you have to break up your day and go on a walk or a run, or really anything that gets you outside and breathing fresh air. This helps reset your body and your mind by giving it a little break and working out your legs that have been sitting at your desk all day!

5. Safely interact with people in person and take a break from your computer

Similar to the daily walk or run to incorporate, make sure you are interacting with people in real life and not just over a screen. People-to-people interaction is huge for students and allows them a break from having to unmute themselves to say a sentence or two to a screen of blank faces. It is very easy to get used to only speaking over Zoom, but doing so can affect our mental health. Make sure you get out of your room and talk to your extended family unit. Close your computer and interact with real people, we cannot let this new, somewhat remote normal take away our social interactions with our peers.

6. Print out your readings

This tip can apply not only during remote classes but once everything is back to normal as well! Nowadays all we do is look at computer screens for class, homework, and readings. This is really harmful to our eyes and with the distractions that can arise on a computer, it is also harder to accomplish work. So, if you have readings you have to get done for a class, I highly recommend printing them out and reading them on an actual paper. It makes it easier to mark up and take notes on and it rests your eyes and head from the harsh computer screens and from the virtual world we are in 24/7 now!

This pandemic has forced us to think about life in new ways and school is no different. Remote education can be very hard to adapt to and it can be hard to figure out what works best for you! However, these tips will help you focus more on your classes and remember that there is more to life than school on your computer in your dorm. It's important to make an effort to experience as normal of a life as possible still with going on walks and talking to people!

We will all get through this, but sometimes a little help is needed!