How to Make Your Dorm Room Feel More Like Home

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StimulateTheSenses #CollectiveBias

Dorm rooms have a way of feeling cold on move-in day. Here are four quick tips on how to make your dorm room feel more like home.

When I first moved away for college, I’d never been away from home for more than a month- even then I was only staying with my grandparents. Then, I was preparing for a whole year away from home. I have to be honest. I didn’t know what to expect. I was moving in with a random roommate to a town I had only briefly visited twice before.

In order to avoid homesickness, I was quick to try to make my dorm room feel as much like home as possible. Here are tips and tricks for how to make your dorm room feel more like home.

DIY Photo Wall

Dorm rooms have a way of feeling cold on move-in day. Here are four quick tips on how to make your dorm room feel more like home.

Decorating with photos is a great way to help you feel more at home in your dorm room. Every time you come home, you’ll be able to look at familiar faces and smiles. Decorating with pictures could simply include setting picture frames on your desk, dresser and night stand, or you can go further and create a DIY picture wall. There are so many ideas for picture walls all over Pinterest. I personally like to keep it simple.

For my current picture wall, I enhanced my pictures by sticking scrapbook paper behind them. I also added a little extra decor by creating a DIY tassel garland. Another great idea for extra decor is Christmas lights!

If you want to add more character to your photo collage wall, add prints or quotes. You can find them internet. There are so many cute, free prints available on Pinterest and blogs.

If you want a different idea on how to dress up your wall with pictures, try hanging them with string and clothes pins! Fun fact: I had a photo wall with strings and clothes pins for my first semester of freshman year. Second semester I switched to a collage of photos and my favorite quotes.

Succulents

I personally think plants add an instant feeling of homeyness. While I would have loved to have decorated my dorm room with endless plants, those take work. If you don’t put in the work, they die. As a busy student who frequently went away for the weekend, it just wouldn’t have worked for me. My suggestion for anyone like me is to invest in succulents. Succulents do not need nearly as much water as other plants. In fact, you can kill your succulents by overwatering them! Their low maintenance needs makes them perfect for a dorm room and busy college student.

Essential Oils

Nature's Truth Essential Oils | Dorm rooms have a way of feeling cold on move-in day. Here are four quick tips on how to make your dorm room feel more like home.

I love essential oils. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that on the blog before. Essential oils have so many different uses. You can make your own soaps, candles, scrubs and sprays. DIY ideas here!

You can also use essential oils as air fresheners by using a diffuser. I firmly believe that a big part of feeling at home and comfortable in a new space is scent. You know when you walk into your house after not being there for a long time and the scent just kind of welcomes you home? I love that feeling.

That’s why I think using essential oils as an air freshener will make your dorm room feel more like home. Even if it doesn’t smell like your original home, you’ll start to create new familiarity in your dorm room with the scent.

Why not just buy a normal air freshener? I personally use essential oils because they are 100% pure and plant based. My favorite oils are the Mental Clarity and Calming oils by Nature’s Truth (pictured above).

I use the Calming oil right before bed. If you meditate, it’s also great for meditation. The scent is floral and citrusy with hints of spice. The scent is so soothing after a long day.

I like to use the Mental Clarity oil while I work at my desk. It has a much more herbal scent that focuses and centers, so I can concur my busy blogging to-do list.

Nature's Truth Essential Oils | Dorm rooms have a way of feeling cold on move-in day. Here are four quick tips on how to make your dorm room feel more like home.

To use my oils, I use the Mini Diffuser by Nature’s truth. I love it because it is so extremely portable. It plugs into any USB outlet, so when I am working at my desk, I can simply plug it into my computer! It has two different setting- interval or constant. Interval lets out mist every 10 seconds, while the constant setting runs constantly for 30 minutes.

Nature's Truth Essential Oils | Dorm rooms have a way of feeling cold on move-in day. Here are four quick tips on how to make your dorm room feel more like home.

I picked up these oils with the mini diffuser at Meijer, where they are located in the vitamin aisle! Nature’s Truth also has Lavender, Peppermint, Energy, Peace, Muscle Ease, Breathe Easy oils and more. If you’re going shopping for Nature’s Truth oils, make sure to print out their Stimulate The Senses Coupon first.

Cozy Decor

Walking into the typical college dorm room, you normally see hard lines and cold tile- two things that don’t feel very homey at all. That’s why when decorating, always go with cozy decor. Think furry pillows, a cushioned chair, fuzzy blanket or a soft rug. Avoid any more harsh lines and hard materials. By adding cozy decor, you’ll instantly feel more at home.

At the end of the day, go with your instincts. Your dorm room is yours. If adding posters on every flat surface will bring you comfort, do it. If adding twinkling fairy lights will make your day, do it! Your dorm room is uniquely yours (and well, your roommates too). No one knows you better than you. Just let your personality shine through when decorating your dorm room. You will instantly feel more comfortable there.

How do you make a new place feel like home? Have you ever tried essential oils? Make sure to check out Nature’s Truth and grab the Stimulate The Senses Coupon for $1 off.

Pros and Cons of Graduating College Early

 Graduating college early isn't for everyone. There is a long list of pros and cons of graduating college early to consider before leaving school too soon.

If you’re new here, I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this May after three short years. The college experience differs so greatly for everyone. I actually know a lot of students that have graduated early- by a year and a semester. On the other hand, I know just as many people (if not more) that will graduate after four and a half years. Everyone is different. Since graduating early is my area of expertise, though, I’m shedding some light on the possible pros and cons of graduating college early.

Pros of Graduating College Early

Obviously, I chose to graduate early for a reason. Graduating college early- whether a semester or a year- has definite advantages.

You’ll save money

Saving money is probably the number one reason students graduate college early. It’s no secret that college isn’t cheap. Even just graduating a semester early will save you thousands of dollars. How much you save will depend on tuition. As someone that moved home after college, I’m also able to factor in how much money I will save on rent.

You’ll start working sooner

Not only will you be saving money by not spending money, you’ll most likely start earning money sooner as well. That means you can start paying off your student loans and putting money away in your savings account. It’s a win-win.

Less competition for a job

This is something most students might not think about. If you are graduating at the semester mark, you’re not going to be competing with the majority of students that graduate in May. The resumes submitted to open entry-level positions are going to be much fewer during winter months. Take that opportunity while you can!

Cons of Graduating College Early

Up until this point, everything about graduating early has sounded perfect! Graduating early definitely can be great (I can speak from experience), but there are also a few things you should consider before leaving school too soon.

More money up front

When graduating early, it’s likely you may have to pay more money up front for summer and winter break classes that financial aid doesn’t cover. If you’re on a strict budget, this may cause trouble for your wallet and be seen as a negative of graduating early. If you can find the money to pay more up front, though, don’t fret; you’re still going to be saving money overall. Keep that in mind.

Less time to figure out what you want to do

If you don’t know what you want to do as a career, don’t feel pressured to pick a major for the sake of getting down quickly. Stay undeclared for a while. Take interesting, obscure classes if your schedule allows. You can do self-discovery in or out of school, but college has so many opportunities to explore between classes and clubs that it might be a good idea to stay there for as long as possible until you figure it out. Don’t settle. I’m sure you’d make it work, but you wouldn’t be as happy as you would have been if you’d found your passion.

More stress

College is stressful as is. Anyone going through college will experience stress at least once in a while. With a shorter time frame and just as many classes, it’s possible that graduating early could only increase the severity and frequency of your stress. It is so, so important to know yourself and know your limit. Don’t ever sacrifice your mental health or wellbeing to finish school in a timely manner. Put you first.

Less time to boost your resume

You have some extra time? Add a minor or certification to your resume if your dream job calls for it. It doesn’t matter if you already have two majors. If there is any possibility that an additional subject area will help you in your job search, I say take it! I considered this option briefly myself, but I decided against it.

You’ll leave your friends

It may seem silly to list missing your friends as a drawback of graduating early, but it’s true! More likely than not, after you graduate early, all of your friends will still be on campus, finishing up their degrees. I strongly advise against making any major decision solely based on your friends’ locations, but it is something to keep in mind. You may miss your friends and feel left out when they are out tailgating the college football games and relaxing on the quad together. It will be an adjustment and something to get used to.

There are so many benefits to graduating early. Depending on your situation, there are definitely possible drawbacks as well. I actually listed more drawbacks than benefits, but it all depends on how much weight you give each. For example, I didn’t have a lot of these drawbacks. They are just possible ones I included for you to consider and in an effort to be as completely unbiased as humanly possible. As I mentioned before, everyone’s college experience is completely unique to them. It’s up to you to decide if graduating early is best for you. Some people only need three years; some need four; some need five. There is no wrong way to “do” college.

I loved writing this post so much that I’m creating a mini series. Next post in the line up will focus on my own personal experience with graduating early. My story is only one of millions, but it will help you gain insight into the process, and, of course, I will be throwing in insider tips and inspiration. If you don’t want to miss my personal story, make sure to follow me on Bloglovin’ or Facebook!

First Day of Class College Outfit Ideas

My first day of class college outfit with everything from shoes to backpack- including my favorite college style bloggers for more inspiration. My first day of class college outfit with everything from shoes to backpack- including my favorite college style bloggers for more inspiration. My first day of class college outfit with everything from shoes to backpack- including my favorite college style bloggers for more inspiration. My first day of class college outfit with everything from shoes to backpack- including my favorite college style bloggers for more inspiration.

Tank top: Old Navy (similar) | Bralette: Abercrombie & Fitch (similar) | Jeans: American Eagle | Backpack: Granite Gear (c/o) | Water bottle: Lilly Pulitzer | Sandals: Red Dress Boutique (similar) | Bracelet: local boutique (similar) | Necklace: A-List Greek (c/o)

Dressing for the first day of class in college is so much different than dressing for the first day of class in high school. When I was in high school, I would get so excited about the first day of school. Everyone dressed to the nines. There was no shame in it. Dressing for college- that’s another story. It’s different for everyone. Some people roll right out of bed and into their 9 am class. One or two still dress to the nines. Then there’s me. I rest somewhere in between, still really caring what I look like and wanting to put in the effort but not wanting to look like I tried too hard. In the end I try really hard to look like I wasn’t trying. To me it’s all about the perfect combination of casual and cute.

Today I’ve paired two very simple items- my plain, white Old Navy tank and my colored American Eagle skinny jeans to look relaxed. Then I added summery accessories to add a little effort to the outfit- my custom coordinates necklace from A-List Greek, my Jack Rogers lookalikes and my sailor’s bracelet from Door County, WI.

Sometimes I like to wear shorts to class, but I get cold very easily, so I tend to prefer wearing warmer clothes even when it’s 80 degrees outside because the classroom AC is always blasting. I can’t concentrate if I’m shivering!

I received this backpack from Granite Gear just in time for back-to-school season. There were a few key features that really made me want to try this backpack. Most of all I was drawn into all of the comfort features built into this backpack. The shoulder straps have load-absorbing pads and the back of the backpack has padding to help support your back. I was always the type of student to skip the bus or bike, so I spent a lot of time walking around with a heavy backpack on my back and could have used these features when I was in college. The bag also has a protective, cushioned computer pocket that fits laptops up to 17″. I liked that too!

The bag overall is much bigger than I thought it would be. I’ve always gone for more of a cute, small backpack. This bag is definitely very functional and comfortable though. For a college student hauling around a laptop, an armload of books and any other on-campus necessities, it actually seems to be a good pick. It all depends on your personal style and the level of functionality you want (because the functionality of this backpack is on point). Granite Gear also has smaller options, of course!

Need more first day of class college outfit ideas?

Finding my Floppy Hat | Although you might not need a floppy hat for class, I’m obsessed with the simple cream peplum top, jeans and little black booties I paired my hat with. It would make the perfect casual, chic outfit for the first day of class.

Chambray & Brights | This chambray shirt dress and bright, light-weight scarf are great for the first day of class; it’s a super quick outfit to pull together and very comfy.

My favorite college style bloggers for more inspiration:

Style by Liv | Olivia just graduated like me (eek!) but has continued to post great outfit ideas for college students. She has a way of pairing a comfy tee with the perfect jeans and accessories to make a winning first day of class look. One of my favorite posts from Style by Liv is her post specifically on college fashion. She covers exactly what she wears to class and features a super cute “happy camper” graphic tee. She also spills on what brands carry the comfiest jeans- a must-have for class.

Bowtiful Life | Although recently Megan has been documenting her travels around Europe, she is constantly linking her preppy outfits for us all to shop. My favorite thing about Megan’s Bowtiful Life is in one post she can be sporting Lilly Pulitzer, Kendra Scott and J. Crew, and in the next she’s found a steal at Old Navy or Forever 21. Life is all about balance! I love this shirt dress Megan wore around Poland.

Mostly Morgan | Morgan is neither a college blogger or a style blogger, but she used to be a college blogger until she quit school and moved out to New York for an amazing internship. She doesn’t focus on college lifestyle topics anymore, and it doesn’t seem like she’ll be posting college content any time soon, but her old posts are still really relevant and high-quality. With that being said, I still love her old post about the best looks for back-to-school because she covers so many styles and options. From girly to sporty, she covers it all!

What will you be wearing for your first day of class?

DIY Back-to-College Care Package

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Gift Card Mall. All opinions and text are my own.

DIY Back-to-College Care Package | A step-by-step guide to building the perfect DIY back-to-college care package for your friend or family member heading back to school.

Care packages: the best two words a college kid could ever hear. Getting a package from my family or friend could always put a smile on my face without fail- even if it was a bad day. With the back-to-school season gearing up, it’s about time to start planning for your care packages again. In fact, it might even be a fun idea to send your friend or college-going family member a care package for the back-to-college season. Here is my step-by-step guide to help you build the perfect care package for your college student no matter the season:

STEP ONE | Pick Your Theme

Since it’s August, I obviously chose a back-to-school theme for my care package, but care packages are perfect for any time of the year. A few of my favorite themes/reasons to send a care package are:

  • Any holiday (include fun decorations for her/his apartment or dorm)
  • Homesickness (include a stuffed animal, photos, letters, sentimental items, etc.)
  • Finals/midterm season (include study essentials)
  • Just because (include virtually anything you want)

Of course, care packages are highly customizable, and you definitely don’t have to play by the rules. Include whatever you want… If your box doesn’t follow a theme, I highly doubt your college student will mind. Put as much or little effort into this step as you like.

STEP TWO | Choose Your Big Ticket Item

DIY Back-to-College Care Package | A step-by-step guide to building the perfect DIY back-to-college care package for your friend or family member heading back to school.

When making a care package, I like to vary the sizes and prices of my items and have one main gift- the biggest and/or most expensive part of the package. The great part about care packages is the variety and never knowing what you’re going to pull out next. Alternating the sizes and prices of items adds interest. With this care package, I relied solely on price and not size for my big ticket item.

The wow factor for my DIY back-to-college care package is the Fuel Everywhere Visa gift card. The Fuel Everywhere Visa gift card can be used at any gas station that accepts Visa debit cards and can be used on fuel, snacks, car washes, oil changes and other services. As a former broke college girl myself, I know there is nothing less fun to spend your money on than gas… But a girl has to get to Walmart, right?!

Don’t want to run from store to store in search of the perfect gift card? Gift Card Mall is a great website for buying gift cards. They have everything from Amazon gift cards to iTunes gift cards to Target gift cards to generic Visa gift cards. The possibilities are endless.

STEP THREE | Buy Your Filler Items

Once you have chosen your package theme and big ticket item, it’s time to buy your filler items! I decided to think of categories for my filler items as well. I chose three item categories:

  • School supplies
  • Relaxing/luxury items
  • Necessities (AKA snacks)

For all of the categories, I tried to choose items that a college kid might not want to spend their money on. So, I bought cute school supplies instead of the basics. I bought a candle, magazine and face masks as my luxury items. I bought healthy, fun snacks instead of the cheap stuff. Getting items your college student might not necessarily want to spend their own money on will make your care package feel like even more of a treat (and you were already highly practical with the Fuel Everywhere Visa gift card).

STEP FOUR | Find Your Packaging

Things to think about with packaging:

  • Does everything I bought fit?
  • Do I have to mail it? Or am I delivering it in person?
  • Can it be used after opening? Will they feel bad throwing it away?

I really like the idea of being creative with your packaging. With that being said, you have a lot more choices and freedom if you are delivering your care package in person. If you’re mailing it, you’ll probably be a little more limited. Regardless, it would be great if you could make your packaging multifunctional. For my care package, I found this great laundry basket for only 98 cents. It didn’t cost me anything and will be able to be used after opening the packaging instead of just being thrown away like a cardboard box.

Other creative ideas for back-to-college themed packaging:

  • Backpack
  • Storage containers

That’s it!

DIY Back-to-College Care Package | A step-by-step guide to building the perfect DIY back-to-college care package for your friend or family member heading back to school.

Your care package is officially complete. Now all that is left to do is get it into the hands of your college student. No matter how much or little effort and money you put into your care package, it is going to be appreciated- never worry about that! If your care package came from your heart, your college student will see that. A little gift can go a long way.

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

Moving Into Your First Apartment

5 Easy Hacks to Simplify College Life

7 Terrifying Thoughts You’ll Have Senior Year

Must-Have iPhone Apps for College Students

Preparing for a New Semester in College