#115 – Zooming Out on the College Experience: Taking the Long (and Wide) View

Preparing for and transitioning into the first year of college involves so many, many details, and it’s easy to get caught up in just getting through what needs to be done. Then the college experience can be taken over by the day-to-day details of classes, assignments, GPA, activities, friends, schedules, career planning and just surviving. While we all know it’s good advice to live in the moment, sometimes it can also help to take a breath, zoom out a bit, and look at the bigger picture. In this episode, Lynn and Vicki suggest why it’s important for your student (and you) to take some time to take a look backward, to look more widely at those experiences available now, and to look forward to the future. Changes of perspective can be illuminating for all of us (And yes, that includes parents!).

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Beyond Bedding and Mini-Fridges: 12 More Dorm Furnishings You May Not Have Thought Of

It’s that time of year. If you have a student living on a college campus e in the fall for the first time, you’re probably awash in list upon list of those important dorm essentials. (Hint: your student probably only needs half of them.)

But in addition to all of the essentials, it’s always nice to have a few extras (but only a few!) There are some useful non-essentials (that your student might even consider essentials) and then there may be some that are just plain fun.

We’ve written an early post to give you some ideas. Check out that post for a dozen extras to think about.

Beyond Bedding and Mini-Fridges: 12 Dorm Furnishings You May Not Have Thought Of.

But just in case that’s not enough, or you don’t find anything for your student in that earlier article, here are a dozen more suggestions. You definitely don’t need them all, but some of these may be just what can make the difference in your student’s room.

Over-the-bed Storage Shelves

A little extra storage space is always appreciated in tight dorm rooms.

Laptop Cable Lock

Dorms are generally safe spaces, but it’s good to be sure. Keeping the laptop locked when in the room makes sense.

Storage Ottoman

A place to sit AND  extra storage. Double duty.

Underbed Storage Bags

Don’t leave any spaces unused! And instead of just shoving things under the bed, these bags keep things clean and in place.

Dry Erase Whiteboard Calendar

Many students like to keep track of assignments, exams, and due dates on a whiteboard where they can easily plan ahead and see what they need to do. Any helpful study tool is worth its weight in gold!

Bedside caddy for phone, laptop, etc.

All of your student’s essentials right at their fingertips – especially helpful if they’re in a top bunk or lofted bed!

Room Air Purifier

A lot of living happens in a dorm room. An air purifier can help keep it livable.

Desk Cart Organizer

Dorm room desks are sometimes not big enough for all of the stuff students need. This can give them that extra space – and it’s moveable, too.

Sunlight Desk Lamp

In the winter in many places it can be hard to get enough healthy sunlight. And that can be true anytime if your student can’t get out enough. This can help.

Bedside Shelf Wall Organizer

One way to keep everything your student needs right at their bedside. In dorm rooms students live in their beds!

Essential Oil Diffuser

No candles in dorm rooms! But that doesn’t mean that can’t smell good.

LED Photo Clip String Lights

Students love to display photos – of friends and family from home and new friends from school. This is a fun way to display them – and to decorate the room!


Don’t forget to check out our previous collection of a dozen fun dorm additions and if that’s still not enough, check out our list of 100 Holiday Gift Ideas and our list of Gift Ideas for Your High School Graduate. 

We’ve got literally hundreds of suggestions to get our creative ideas flowing.

Note: Some links in our post are for affiliate products. If you use our links, College Parent Central receives a small percentage of your purchase price. This does not change the cost to you.  We think it’s only fair to let you know that.


#114 – Getting Comfortable with the Uncomfortable: A Conversation with Author Harlan Cohen

Vicki and Elizabeth had a wide-ranging conversation with Harlan Cohen, college transition expert and author of The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into In College. Harlan shared why the transition to college can be so difficult and why finding your People, your Places, and having Patience can make a difference. Harlan encourages parents – and students – to understand that the first year of college, or at least the first semester, may be a terrible mess. Although that may not sound very positive, you’ll want to hear Harlan explain how that knowledge can be freeing and help students find their direction.

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