Dorm decor makes unfamiliar space feel like home



Amanda Gerstenfeld

What do you pack for college? That is an essential question that all students, both new and returning, must contemplate before jumping in the car and heading to campus for the start of the semester. Clothes, shoes, toiletries and much more are stuffed into various bags, crates and boxes. The entire process can be quite exhausting, packing items that are necessary but not interesting or meaningful. As an incoming freshman on the eve of my departure from home, I found myself surrounded by large boxes filled to the brim with items that would help me through my firsts months of college physically but not really emotionally. My new backpack, round and heavy, was where my real lifelines were—personal dorm decorations.  

Dorm decorations are not frivolous objects. They are not a waste of money or a waste of space in the car. One of the biggest sources of power that dorm décor can give a student is motivation. When I am sitting at my desk in my room after a long day, attempting to start that long paper due by the end of the week, I look at the pictures of my friends and family taped to the wall in front of me and find the strength to write that first sentence. There is also a sense of power when it comes to designing your own space, as well as pure satisfaction. Whether they are pillows, blankets, books, posters or signs, these decorations convey various levels of meaning that are unique to each individual. 

No one wants to look at the ugliness of plain, white walls when returning to a dorm room after a long day of classes. Those kinds of walls do not exude feelings of comfort or warmth. “I honestly believe dorm decorations, would liven up my room,” freshman Alison Mody said. “I wish my room had more decorations because without them there is no personality. Decorations would show that people actually live there.” Posters are great additions to dorm rooms—they are  simple ways to customize the available space, and poster sales on campus are a great resource. Not only do decorations make you feel more comfortable, but they also show others what your interests are, leading to the start of conversations about mutual interests. These are all real, positive impacts that were not difficult to bring about, and I definitely sleep better at night knowing that I am surrounded by things that make me happy. 

One challenge that nearly all students face at some point is the dreaded homesickness. People use various techniques to combat the feeling. A great, simple way to deal with homesickness is by decorating your dorm room with things that you love. Little reminders from home are great additions, and although some people may think those types of items would only make you feel worse, it can actually make the room itself feel more like a space you would be comfortable living in. Villanova will feel even more like your home away from home.  

College is meant to be a period of personal discovery when you can find yourself–your talents, your passions and your goals. It can be a confusing time as well, so in order to avoid experiencing an identity crisis, go back to the basics. Make the room you live in a reflection of yourself, a starting point from which you can grow and mature. Dorm decorations are not superficial. Do not be afraid to hang that large Villanova basketball poster, cuddle with your favorite pillow from home or tape that family picture to the side of the desk. It is very easy to miss the importance of something as simple as dorm décor, but it is present nonetheless. All of these decorations merge together to create a positive atmosphere that will continue throughout the school year.