With so many kids I know off to college in the next few weeks, I thought it would be convenient to give some tips about dorm rooms. It is likely that they will be sharing their room with one or more other students and for many, this is a first! It’s hard going from having your own bedroom and bathroom at home to sharing with others. The notorious lack of privacy in college dorms can be both intimidating and a right of passage. Here are some ways to make your dorm life a little more comfortable with a little help from Feng Shui:
Contact your roommate: When I went to college, there was no internet or cell phones to let me know who my roommate would be and how to contact that person ahead of time (I received a letter in the mail with her name and the city she comes from. My first interaction with her was the day I moved in!). Now, kids know well in advance and connect via Facebook or texting.
I strongly encourage you to contact your future roommate, get a feel for each other, and arrange for who will bring what. If she brings a fridge, perhaps you can bring a printer to share? Be sure to set the ground rules on these items so nobody takes advantage. I.e.: you pack her fridge solid with Yoo-Hoo, or she uses up all of your toner.
Don’t bring too much when you go. The necessities, a few conveniences and a luxury or two are the limit for moving in. You can always get more next time you are home, or buy it as needed. If you bring too much it will be far more difficult to get out from under the clutter than if you brought things in slowly. Also, you might end up buying things for your dorm room ahead of time that you find you don’t need. Again, work with your roommate – maybe she has a favorite rug that she is planning to use, so you won’t have to bring one. Clutter is a big issue in dorm rooms and starting off on the right foot is key.
Bunk beds – While they are fun as a kid, they aren’t the best Feng Shui, especially for the person on the bottom! If it is unavoidable, I would light up or use a white sheet over the bottom of the top bunk to create more “space” for the person below. If you can separate the beds this would be much more beneficial for both of you.
More on beds – Try to put a solid wall at your head, and try to be able to see the door while lying in bed without having your feet point directly out the door. It would be ideal not to have storage under your bed, but we all know space is very limited in dorm rooms. Keep it as neat and organized as possible under the bed using cubes or organizing units, and try not to make this the place for storing heavy items.
Mattresses – Dust mites are inevitable but they must be kept to a minimum. Steaming the bed before use, and then vacuuming it will help get rid of many of them before you make the bed your own. Bed bugs are something you must avoid. Get a mattress cover that is made just for this purpose. Often they are plastic and you zip the entire mattress up inside it. If your bed is too hard, add a foam mattress cover and a quilted mattress pad on top of that before your sheets are put on.
Desks – You might not have much of a choice with placement. Ideally, you should not face a wall or have your back to the door. If you do, a small mirror reflecting what is behind you helps. It is best to have your back to a wall.
Mirrors – You should try not to see the reflection of your bed while lying in it. Mirrors are fine in any room, and can even help to make it feel larger. The fact that they reflect light makes the room brighter.
Colors – Opt for more soothing, restful colors for bedding, posters or accessories to help you relax when it’s time to sleep. It will also be less disruptive to your studies. Darker colors will make the room seem smaller. Try to use a variety of colors that represent each of the five elements for balance.
Tap into your best direction using the Eight Mansions formula. Go to www.wofs.com and use the Kua Calculator to discover what number and group you belong to. For example, my twin daughters are East Group and Kua 9. As such, they know exactly which direction their head should point in bed, which way to face when studying, and where to sit when eating. More important, in my opinion, is knowing which directions NOT to face!
Add a crystal globe in the northeast area of your room or the northeast part of your desk to enhance Education Luck.
Plants do help clean the air you breathe, and some are better than others at this. Opt for broad-leaved plants instead of spikey ones. Keep it very healthy: water and allow the sun to shine on it as needed. Adding a live plant enhances the “growth” aspect of the wood element.
A salt lamp could be very beneficial when you have a lot of electronics in a small area. Having two or more people in a dorm room, might mean two laptops, a printer, a TV, fridge, sometimes a microwave, blow dryers, radios, iPods, phones…. This is a lot of stuff in a contained space, and the salt lamp breaks up the positive ions with negative ones. Keep it lit for several hours each day, as it is the heat from the light bulb that activates the salt. Himalayan salt lamps are purest and most effective. There are many different kinds of salt lamps, including ones that plug right into your computer’s USB port.
Try not to keep electronics near your head when sleeping. This is where the salt lamp helps, but it is also best to sleep with all electronics at least five feet away from you to avoid excessive EMF’s. I know that in a small dorm room this may not be possible. Most students I know want a TV in their dorm room. Although this is not considered “good Feng Shui”, it is better to use one without the reflective aspect of a glass or shiny screen.
Electronic/extension cords – keep them as out of sight as possible and do not string them along walls. They should be kept neat, untangled and out of the way. Be sure to have a surge protector for your computer. If you plug everything into one strip it would be great to shut ot all off at night while you sleep.
You are what you eat! The Freshman Fifteen didn’t get its name from healthy-eating eighteen year olds. Find your rhythm and make the time to eat well. We all know it’s quicker to grab a candy bar when we’re in a rush, so allow for the extra time to get a healthy meal between classes and try starting your day with something nutritious. Keep in mind that a strong body and a flourishing mind is the most practical way to have a happy year away from home.