After an amazing nine months of living in my spectacular dorm room, I thought I’d pay tribute to my snug little single and share some knowledge with the future Class of 2016. From choosing the right dorm building, to buying all of the necessary (and maybe rather unnecessary) supplies and decorations, to finally unpacking it all on move-in day, there’s a lot to figure out in terms of your living situation. I know that when I was an incoming freshman, I really wanted specifics when it came to what the university provides you with, and what you should bring on your own. So, without further ado, this is my comprehensive look at all things dorm related, enjoy!
First of all, you should choose which building you think would serve you best. You can find more information about the different buildings here. Personally, I chose the AMR’s due to it’s location and traditional dorm layout. I also managed to snag a single, so that I’ve been able to have my own space this year to study, sleep, watch TV, or really do whatever I want (which is awesome and I’d highly recommend it)! I also have plenty of friends who love their roommate and their double room situation, so really think about what you think would work best with your schedule and personality for the next year.
Here’s what the university provided me with: (As I’m an AMR II resident, my armoire is slightly bigger and my desk is slightly different than the respective furniture in Buildings A & B and Wolman)
- Bed: With your average twin xl size college mattress, this is really a staple in terms of college dorm experiences. At Hopkins, you’re able to loft the bed at varying heights, dependent on your preference. My bed is fully lofted (think of a bunk bed without the bed underneath), so that I put my futon underneath. Typically, students half-loft their beds so that they can fit more storage underneath the bed. Also, maintenance does this lofting of the bed for you, so you don’t have to worry about buying bed risers or tools or anything of that nature -which is really nice!
- Armoire: The armoire that you’re provided with varies dependent on your dorm, but in the AMR’s, the armoire’s are typically on the larger side in that you have ample hanging space along with two bottom drawers.
- Desk + Chair: The desk comes with a built in desk light, a top shelf for books and an extra light, and three drawers for desk materials and additional storage.
- Set of Drawers: The university also provides you with 3 additional drawers for storage, along with the 2 bottom drawers in the armoire.
Here’s what I brought to my dorm:
- Fridge + Microwave:The university offers a service in which you can rent a “micro fridge” and a lot of students choose to go with this option. I just went ahead and bought my own since I wanted a fridge and microwave for my four years!
- Futon: I think that this is the most unique part about my room, and I love it! The futon has turned out to be perfect for hosting tennis recruits, prospective students, or visiting friends. It’s also nice because my friends and I can watch TV on the futon, instead of on my bed!
- TV: I opted to get a TV with cable, but I’d say less than half of the students here have one. I actually use mine a lot to keep up with the news and some of my favorite shows, plus it keeps my single from seeming too quiet. I’d recommend a TV if you know that you’ll actually use it!
- Sterrilite Storage: I ended up purchasing this half way through the semester, since I had accumulated way too many free shirts between joining a sorority and being on the tennis team! It also works as additional shoe storage. (In such a tight space, pretty much any free space turns into extra storage.)
- Shoe Storage:I bought these shelves at Target, and they’ve served me fairly well!
- Hair Accessories Storage: I actually bought this at PB Teen, and it’s one of the best purchases I made for my dorm! The little storage unit has a power strip in the back, so that I can plug my straightener, curler, and dryer in all at once.
- 2 Cabinet Sets: Also from Target, these cabinets hold a plethora of miscellaneous items, ranging from my rain boots to laundry detergent to plates and silverware to my shower caddy. It’s hard to realize the sheer amount of stuff you’ll acquire over the year, so I’d suggest buying or bringing as much storage as possible!
- Lamp: It always helps to have more light in the room, no matter what dorm you’re living in! I’d suggest getting both a floor lamp and a desk lamp.
- Fan: If you’re living in the AMR’s, you should realize that there is no air conditioning. This only turns out to be a problem in the first couple weeks of school, and the last two weeks of school or so. This is easily fixable though by purchasing a fan!
- Mattress Pad: Though definitely not a necessity, my mattress pad had made my bed amazingly comfortable. They sell them almost anywhere for pretty cheap, and I’d say its worth the money!
- Bedding + Pillows: I purchased my bedding from Anthropologie, but most students have luck finding bedding at the usual suspect stores (Target, Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, etc.). I also saw a bunch of bedding at Urban Outfitters as well.
- Decorations: Decorating your space really livens up your living space. I found that picture frames, flowers, decorative pillows, concert posters, and old cards and notes have really made my dorm feel like home. Before you leave for college, make sure that you bring some pictures and knick knacks that remind you of home!
- Towels and Towel Rack: It helps to have a towel rack so that you don’t end up with wet towels everywhere… you don’t want to grow mold!
Finally, here are some of the stores that had a lot of awesome dorm finds from my experience: Target, The Container Store, Bed Bath and Beyond, Ebay (for unique decorations and posters), Walmart, PB Teen, Urban Outfitters, and Anthropologie. Also, make sure to check out yard sales! If you’re lucky, you”ll be able to find some perfect dorm decor and furniture for a great price!
Hopefully this overview of my dorm proved helpful for some of you enrolled students! Make sure to check out the plethora of cribs videos that Hopkins Interactive has created over the years to get a better feel for how other students have made the most of their living situation. Each video offers a different perspective that’s pretty helpful in terms of the individual dorms.
All My Best,