Headed to college? Your dorm room is going to be your humble abode for the foreseeable future so you should strive to make it as comfortable, functional, and cool as possible. What are some essential items that will make your room go from just a place to stay to a place where you can really live?

Closet Organization Tools

It’s a brutal truth that dorm rooms are tiny, and the closets are often pathetically cramped. To make the most out of the space that’s available to you, buy some tools to help get your wardrobe in order. A hanging shoe rack can keep your footwear from creating chaos, while some stackable shelves or some cheap plastic drawers are the perfect place to keep items you don’t want to hang like underwear and socks. One idea to create extra space is to use the tabs from soda cans to offset hangers.


Before you buy sheets, be sure to find out if your bed is a regular twin or a twin extra long (XL). If it’s extra long, you may have a harder time finding sheets. Shop online for sheets that fit your personality and can add some style to an otherwise dull dorm room. Buy a matching comforter and pillows so your bed becomes the decorative centerpiece of your space.

Extra tip: You should invest in at least two sets of sheets. If you spill something on your bed, you don’t want to have to make any late night runs to the laundry room.

A College-Style Kitchen

Alright. You can’t exactly buy a kitchen to go in your dorm room, but you can buy a few items that will save you from spending all your money on takeout.

  • A mini-fridge. This is the perfect place to store your drinks and your leftovers. Maybe you and your roommate can split the cost and share a small fridge.
  • A microwave. You might be surprised by how many delicious things you can make in a microwave.
  • Dishes and cutlery that won’t break. Some sturdy, plastic food storage containers are always handy, but you also want some items that are microwave-safe.

Before you buy your food supplies, check the dorm’s rules. Safety regulations might limit what you can have in the way of microwaves, hot plates, etc.

Study Materials

Of course, your textbooks are going to be your primary study tool, but you can complement your textbooks to make the experience of studying in your dorm room as easy as possible.

A lap desk and a small clip-on light will be great for those late nights when you want to sit on your bed and study with minimal disruption to your roommate. Also buy a variety of different colored pens, highlighters, sticky notes, and index cards so you can keep all your materials organized. You’re totally going to ace that exam!

Shower Supplies

Shared showers can be on the gross side, so bring shower shoes to protect your feet from fungus and other forms of ickiness. A caddy to carry all your shower supplies in will also come in handy. Don’t forget a bathrobe so you can stay covered while you’re journeying from your dorm to the shower.

Outfit your dorm with all the essentials so that it’s both functional and comfortable.

With summer well underway, you might not want to think about hitting the books again in the fall. However, if you take the right steps now, you could prepare yourself for peak productivity when you return to class. It’s easy to daydream about staying organized, planning for the future, and meeting all of your obligations, but none of those dreams will come to fruition unless you start strategizing.

Create Good Habits — and Stick to Them

When you want to create new habits, don’t postpone them until the first day of school. Instead, use the summer to hone your productivity skills, whether you’re working a part-time job, starting a new hobby, or leaning a foreign language. Set achievable goals for yourself, and celebrate each time you hit a milestone.

You might think that some people are just born with a natural ability to organize and stay productive, but you can learn those skills. As you practice, it will become second nature. If you struggle at first, keep a journal to help hold yourself accountable to your failures and your successes.

Leverage Smartphone Apps

That little device that never leaves the palm of your hand can do more than keep you connected to your college pals. Numerous productivity apps exist, so download and test a few on your smartphone. Use these apps to track your to-do list, keep up with your assignments, and manage your calendar.

Some students find that their productivity slips when they stress out. Fortunately, apps can also help you balance your budget and save money. For instance, you can use the CampusBooks app to find the best prices on textbooks in the fall.

Establish Boundaries

Unfortunately, most students don’t leave peer pressure behind when they walk across the stage at high school graduation and head to the hallowed halls of their chosen universities. When your friends want to stay up all night and party, you might find yourself tempted to join them.

To combat this pressure, set boundaries for yourself this summer. For instance, maybe you’ll reserve Saturdays and Sundays for recreation and socialization, but keep your weekday nights free for studying. If you’re clear about your boundaries, you can enforce them more effectively.

Go Analog

For some people, technology doesn’t enhance technology — it gets in the way. When using your smartphone or computer for its apps tempts you into conducting endless internet searches or checking your friends’ social media statuses, consider investing in a paper planner. If you’re on a budget, pick up a 50-cent notebook at the supermarket and turn it into a bullet journal.

Along those same lines, set limits for yourself when it comes to technology and media. For instance, you could check social media only once per day and turn off your phone’s text and email alerts.

Productivity isn’t an inborn talent that you can leverage from birth. Some people struggle for it, but you’ll thank yourself when you get your assignments turned in on time and never miss class because of poor planning. If you get in the habit this summer, you’ll nail productivity in the fall.

Have second thoughts about your liberal-arts degree begun to haunt you? It’s a common problem for students who declare a liberal-arts major and then hear rumors about poor employability and depressing income potential. To put your fears at bay, let’s look at some of the facts about liberal-arts degrees.

You’re in Good Company

Writing for Time magazine, Jack Linshi lists 10 successful CEOs of major U.S. corporations who started their professional lives with liberal-arts degrees. The list includes luminaries like Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki.

Wojcicki, for instance, graduated from Harvard in 1990 with a BA in history and literature. History, in particular, has often received criticism as a degree with no future, but you can score plenty of well-paying jobs if you’ve discovered a passion for the past. Whether you teach history or become a corporate historian for a major company, you can easily earn a comfortable living. Of course, you could always become the next CEO of a major media company.

Creativity Has Become Currency

Regardless of your future career, creativity will serve you well. Maybe you’re a journalism or English major, for instance, and spend your holiday breaks reading everything you can find. You likely have a vivid imagination and a strong focus on small details. These creativity skills might make you more appealing to prospective employers — not less.

In fact, Fast Company reports that today’s top tech CEOs want to hire liberal-arts grads. They’re looking for professionals with liberal-arts training because the arts nurture creativity and encourage critical thinking. Liberal-arts degree holders often know how to develop new solutions for businesses and can wear multiple hats at their companies.

The World Has Gotten Smaller

The Internet and other technologies have made it easier to socialize and do business with people from different cultures. However, language barriers still exist, and people who can speak multiple languages hold tremendous value in business. Whether you want to teach English to children in a foreign country, communicate with non–English-speakers in a law office, or travel abroad as an interpreter, you have many options.

Furthermore, Rebecca Callahan, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Texas, reports that bilingual people often demonstrate “higher test scores, better problem solving skills, sharper mental acuity, and greater empathy.” These benefits can serve you well as you hunt for a job after graduation and negotiate for a raise in the middle of your career.

Passion Matters

Did you know that happy people enjoy higher income potential? Don’t pursue a STEM career just because you’re worried about employability. Forcing yourself to work in an unattractive field will simply depress you, and it could reduce your salary potential.

If you love the liberal arts, you’ll find a way to make your degree profitable. Since you’re pursuing your passion, you’ll find yourself happier, more contented, and less stressed.

Don’t panic about your liberal-arts degree. Instead, embrace your future in a field you love, and start making good things happen.