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6 Tips for Adjusting to College Dorm Life

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If you are reading this, it probably means that you are preparing for one of the most extraordinary adventures of your life. Even with all the difficulties and stress related to studying, this is the period of your life you will remember fondly. It is the time when you will have the most fun. All the crazy stories you will tell while reminiscing your youth will have one thing in common – they happened in college. And living in a students’ dorm plays a considerable part in the awesomeness that college life is. That said, adjusting to college dorm life will be necessary. But no worries, it won’t take too long before you start enjoying all the college life has to offer.

Regardless of how excited you are about living independently and taking care of yourself for the first time, be ready for something of an emotional rollercoaster once you first get there. It will be the first time you share your living space with a roommate not related to you. The fact that you have separated from your family becomes real. Everything in your life is new. While undoubtedly exhilarating, it is also pretty overwhelming. You may feel lonely and homesick at times. However, there is no need for despair. It’s all too common and passes quickly, especially if you follow a few tips to help you accustom to your new way of life. And if things become too stressful to bear, counseling is always a great option. Sometimes, we all need some help to kickstart making progress.

1. Make your dorm room feel like home

There is no better way to make a place feel homey and comfortable than making it look yours. Therefore, remember to bring some items you will decorate your room with. Personalize it with posters, pillows, or plants. Photos of your family, friends, and pets are an excellent idea. Also, some objects from your old room will remind you of home. If you have your favorite blanket, lamp, or even a chair from your old room, you will settle faster. It will also feel like you have brought a piece of your home with you.

When you decorate your room, make sure you choose ornaments and color schemes that reflect your style. However, don’t forget to check the school rules before making any changes, as there are restrictions as to the extent of your decorating. But regardless of the limitations, there are always simple ways to bring a piece of yourself into space.

Important note: Remember that you will be sharing the room with another thinking and breathing human being. So, before you get your belongings ready to be transferred to your new place, make sure they are on board with all your ideas and desires.

2. Shared space requires some ground rules

The existence of a single room has been rumored, but few have lived to see it. Jokin aside, chances are you will share your room with another person. For this reason, setting some ground rules from the word go is a must. Approach the matter with a friendly tone and discuss some basic house rules. For example, sleeping and cleaning schedules are critical points you have to be on the same page about. If one of you vapes or is a smoker, it may be best to quit those habits. Also, having people over is something you must discuss.

Even if you are not a perfect match in terms of your lifestyle preferences, you can compromise. Know that it’s okay if your college roommate doesn’t end up being one of your closest friends. But it’s in your best interest not to allow an intolerable living situation to take reigns in a small shared space.

3. Remember to live life outside the dorm too

Now that you have made your new room cozy and comfortable, it’s time to go out. No, really. Adjusting to college dorm life implies meeting other people, going for walks, studying at a library. Your room shouldn’t be like a prison cell. Sure, you can do everything there. But being confined in a small space for extended periods can make anyone go crazy.

You need time for yourself outside of your dorm. So go to a café, find a spot in a park where you can unwind and enjoy a change of scenery. If you try to form positive habits while in college, it will prove extremely beneficial.

4. Planning a monthly budget is an indispensable part of adjusting to college dorm life

Being in charge of your financials for the first time in your life may be challenging. Staying on top of everything may feel overwhelming. Therefore, plan your monthly budget carefully. It will give you a boost in confidence regarding your financial decisions and provide you with structure and organization.

Two sound pieces of advice to get you started:

  • set some money aside for emergencies
  • don’t overuse your credit card.

5. Get to know your Residential Advisor

In times of trouble, a Residential Advisor (RA) can be of tremendous help. Should you get into a conflict with your roommate or there’s an issue with your room, your RA is the person you turn to. RAs typically introduce themselves to new students, and sometimes there are regular floor meetings. That is the time to start interacting with them. They are usually students from upper classes whose job is to supervise several rooms in the dorm.

Although they will represent a sort of parental supervision, make no mistake – they are students too. And they, too, have a lot on their plate – work, studies, free time. So, try not to make their life more difficult. It’s in your best interest to build a rapport with them.

6. Keep in touch with your old friends and family

Even with all the excitement of the newness dorm life brings, many new students experience homesickness. For that reason, it’s important to make your room feel like home, go out and explore campus, meet new people and build a relationship with your roommate. But it’s also important to remember your family and friends and reach out to them. Sure, the new chapter of your life has started, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss your old connections.

Adjusting to college dorm life will largely depend on your personality. While some students instantly feel at home, others need a lot more time to settle in. If you are among the latter group, know that you can, and you will enjoy dorm life. It may just take a bit more time to get there. Remember that the most important thing is not to get cooped up in your room. Go out, explore the campus, breathe the fresh air, and find a spot outside you will call yours.

Happy Pride Month!

Happy Pride

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Happy Pride! Check out what Lane, one of our awesome Youth Advisory Board (YAB) members, has to say about Pride and what it means to them.

June, or “Pride Month”, is a time for celebration. It’s a time to recognize all people of all genders and sexualities across the country and across the world. It is a time to remember those who fought for our rights and made it possible to have the freedom we do now. It is also a time to see how much progress we still have to make. For all the LGBTQIA+ people across the globe, it’s mainly a time for us to be loud and proud of who we are.

It’s not always safe for LGBTQIA+ kids to be open in public places, so the festival gives them a chance to feel secure and unguarded about themselves. The month’s festivities and bright colors give a bold identity to a proud community that has prospered even in the face of adversity.

This, to me, means that I can be strong and bold, regardless of what people think of me at school, in my family, or even what random strangers may think of me. It gives me the courage to be myself and provides a community of support for other people like me. I was raised in a Catholic family, went to Catholic schools my whole life, and never knew many LGBTQIA+ people until I was older. I felt like I was all alone, but after my first pride month, I gained friends who really knew and understood me. They made me realize that I wasn’t alone, and that being myself was okay. The most freeing lesson I’ve learned is how to be genuinely me. One thing I wish everyone knew is how to support young LGBTQIA+ people, especially adults. It’s hard for young kids to ask adults for the things they need, especially when the driving force behind the needs is something as personal as their identity. There are a few simple things adults can do to help young LGBTQIA+ kids feel more comfortable expressing themselves.

  1. Introduce yourself with your pronouns. Walking up to someone and being upfront about your own identity will help them be more comfortable talking about theirs. For example, when I introduce myself, I make sure to say, “I use he/him/his or they/them/their pronouns.”
  2. Do research on gender-neutral pronouns that you haven’t heard about before. There are pronouns used less commonly like ze/zir and ey/em that many non-binary people use. Knowing how to use these comfortably helps people feel accepted.
  3. Use gender-neutral terms in conversation. Rather than saying “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”, use terms like “partner” or “significant other”. This can work for siblings, parents, and spouses as well.
  4. Celebrate pride month with us! Even if you aren’t LGBTQIA+, showing your support for the community can go a long way. Grab that rainbow flag and wave it along with us! Help young kids and LGBTQIA+ teenagers and adults to be loud and proud by being accepting and proud of yourself. Whatever is going on in the world around you or in your community, choose love.
10 ways to reduce stress during finals

10 ways to reduce stress during finals

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10 Ways to Reduce Stress During Finals

Stress is something we all experience at different points in our life. How we deal with stress can impact our mood, our self-esteem, and even our health. The end of the school year can be a stressful time for most folks. There are many things on the minds of young people like finals, prom, finding a summer job, and graduation just to name a few. It is important during stressful times we pause to take care of ourselves. myHealth’s Youth Advisory Board put together this list of stress relieving techniques a person can incorporate into their day. Coping strategies do not solve the problem or stressor, but they do calm us down and re-center our focus so we can better face our stress.

Interested in joining YAB for the 2019-2020 school year?

The myHealth Youth Advisory Board (YAB) is made up of a diverse group of young people ages 15-19 who represent myHealth in their schools and communities and are interested in teen health and leadership opportunities. YAB members give vital input and feedback on the programs and clinic at myHealth, are trained to provide education to classmates, friends, and peers, represent myHealth at community events, help raise awareness and funds for myHealth and volunteer within the local community.

Applications are accepted year-round, but interviews for admission into YAB occurs only once per year, in the summer. If you or a young person you know would like to apply or just have some questions, contact Laura Herman at [email protected].

 

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