After completing my first semester at Ohio University, I reflected on my dorm as I packed it up for the month long break. Before moving in, I had found every dorm hack and "necessary item" list online. Within five months, I have realized what "hacks" have been helpful and what have never really worked like it should have. Here's my list of what worked, what didn't and what I have mixed feelings on.
My favorite hacks
1. Clip on everything
Clip on fans and lamps to put on the bed or desk are a life saver. When my roommate is sleeping, it is so nice to be able to turn my clip on lamp on to work on homework. It is extremely helpful to have on when turning the main light off before bed so I can find my way and avoid stubbing my toes. The fan is nice for when it is too hot and there is little control of the temperature within the dorm.
2. Crate as a shelf
Knowing my desk would have no shelf, I bought a wooden crate from my local craft store for around $10. While it could be embellished or painted, I left mine natural. Within the crate, I have books and games and used the top as a shelf to place my mugs and instant coffee.
3. Comfy chairs
If the room allows for it, having a comfortable chair such as a bean bag or butterfly chair makes a huge difference. It's a nice place to sit and relax, do homework or somewhere for friends to sit.
4. Homemade mac-n-cheese
While easy-macs make mac-n-cheese in the dorms easy, they get old after a while. Through our market at OU, I purchased cheese sticks, milk and macaroni with extra meal swipes. Simply add water and macaroni to a mug and cook in the microwave for 4-6 minutes, stirring regularly making sure to not let the water boil over. Once cooked, add about a tablespoon of milk and 1-2 cheese sticks depending on the amount of macaroni or personal taste. Let the hot macaroni do the work and melt the cheese. Finally give a good mix and you have homemade mac-n-cheese in the dorm.
1. Brita filter
While having clean water within the room is helpful, having to constantly refill the Brita took too much time and frankly I am far too lazy to do it. While this may work for some, I find that I'm not a true fan.
Having comfortable and decorative pillows are a must. However, having too many pillows creates an issue because there is not a spot for them when it is time to go to bed or space to sit on the bed once it is made. Having a couple pillows is fine, but make sure to not go overboard like me.
3. Travel mugs
In my mind, I saw myself making coffee in the dorm, putting it in a travel mug and going to class. I haven't done this once all semester. At OU, you can have flex points which can be used in the cafes on campus. If I wanted coffee, I used my flex points. Having a travel mug is handy, but I personally find them to just be taking up space on my desk.
1. Bedside caddy
The bed side caddy was the most seen thing I personally saw when looking up dorm hacks before moving in. I don't use it. It is not strong enough to hold things like my laptop, which is what I am on most nights before bed, and it muffled the sound of my alarm on my phone in the morning. I will not be using this again in the future.
2. Car air freshener on air conditioner
To get a fresh scent in the room, simply clip a car air freshener to the air conditioner or vents. While I did this, and the room did smell good, it lasted for only a maximum of one week before there was no more liquid left in the clip and no scent came out at all. Using a spray air freshener is just as effective.
When I thought about college while in high school, I always imagined myself making huge amounts of microwave popcorn and that it was just the natural thing to do. This entire semester I have made maybe two bags of popcorn. If you don't eat tons of popcorn at home, you do not need to bring tons of microwave popcorn to school because chances are, it won't be eaten.
It has been one hell of a first semester. I have learned a lot about myself and hope that my thoughts on dorm living can help someone else in the future when planning their dorm room.
All gifs courtesy of Giphy
On December 8, 2017, Garfunkel, my hermit crab passed away. Simon, his hermit crab brother, and I will miss him dearly. Thank you for providing me with so much happiness during my first semester of college. Here is a video I made to honor him:
Over Thanksgiving break, I headed back to Northeast Ohio to spend time with my family. After a week of activities and eating, we spent our Saturday afternoon visiting
Stone Garden Farm & Village in Richfield. Having never been, I had no idea what to expect.
Upon arriving, after a scenic, 25 minute drive, we were greeted by a black cat and many chickens. Unlike chickens kept in a fenced in area or pen, they were able to roam where they wished. They seemed to like us, especially after feeding them some chicken feed, and followed us around where we walked.
The owners had relocated historic buildings that were going to be torn down and collected different historical artifacts within, such as a post office and school that were open and ready to be explored.
Their general store featured seasonal products and gifts, as well as sold live Christmas trees. While we did not buy a tree, we purchased some homemade soaps and jam.
With further exploration, we found cows, goats and more cats within a barn full of antique farm equipment and buggies. While the gardens were empty after their harvest, it was an amazing experience to see a family almost fully living off of their land.
It would be a treat to go back during the other seasons throughout the year to see the seasonal products they make or buy pumpkins to carve. After the visit, I felt relaxed after being with the animals and in nature. I would highly suggest visiting this farm when in the area!
Here are pictures from my visit:
Thanksgiving has always been documented through pictures, which were then posted online for family and friends to see. This year, I put these photos into video and asked my family, "what are you thankful for this year?" With a year full of ups, downs and new beginnings, here is what we are thankful for:
With Thanksgiving break quickly approaching, I took a step back and thought about what I have been thankful for. A lot has happened this year with many lasts and even more firsts. While I am always thankful for the little things such as when there is chicken nuggets once a week in the dining hall or a goodnight text from a friend, here are the 4 things I am truly thankful for this year:
I want to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving spent with the family and friends they love. I am ending this blog differently than most by offering the question, what are you thankful for?
I have always been one to enjoy a fall adventure with friends. Around 45 minutes from the Ohio University campus, and down a long, winding and rather hilly road, sits Old Man's Cave in Hocking Hills State Park. As a spur of the moment trip (planned at 3 a.m. that morning) on a chilly 40° day during our long weekend, my friend Gwyn and I made the pilgrimage to what is considered the "mecca" for nature enthusiasts.
Having never been before, Gwyn was my tour guide. I was absolutely blown away by the amazing nature. While having the ability to use my words when it comes to all things journalism, I simply cannot find the words to describe what I saw. I still cannot fathom the incredible, natural world that surrounds us. Instead, here are the pictures that I took throughout our day together.
I would 10/10 recommend a trip to visit this picturesque spot to simply explore, have a photo shoot or get off of campus for a few hours.
*All photos are original. Only editing/altering is through cropping of photo
I have loved my first semester spent at Ohio University. While I missed home, I tried to stay on campus as much as possible. When I had an off week and was missing home more than usual, I planned for a trip home over "Dad's Weekend", also my birthday weekend. While noting the differences from the dorm to my home such as the amount of noise, door handles and space, here are 10 things I took for granted while living at home:
1. My Mom
I always knew she did so much for the family, but I never knew truly how much she did until I had to take care of myself completely. Within 5 minutes of walking through the front door, a load of my laundry was started, my bags were in my room and a meal was on the table for me to eat. While in high school, I complained about her "nagging", but she really just keeps everyone in the house moving.
2. Showering without flip flops
Showering without wearing flip flops, what a concept.
3. My cat
Animals have been proven to relieve stress. Being home and getting to cuddle with my cat, made me so happy and ready to return back to finish the semester.
4. Toilet paper
Tissue paper used to wrap presents is thicker than dorm toilet paper. Having nice toilet paper makes me dread going back to the dorm toilet paper in the following weeks.
5. My bed
The bed in the dorm is up high, and with me being short, I have to jump up to sit or get into bed for the night. My bed at home is nice and low so I easily just sit down and can get into bed with minimal effort.
I brought cheap pillows to school so if anything were to happen to them, there would not be as big of a loss. Coming home to my memory foam pillow caused me to have the best sleep I've had in weeks.
7. The smell
Being completely honest, the dorms smell. Everyone's dirty laundry, cooked food and all-around personal scents. Being at home, everything smelled so clean. The bathrooms were kept fresh, the house smelled clean and there were no lingering odors from food.
8. Locking doors
Every time I leave my dorm and close the door, it automatically is locked. This means that I need to carry my key with me whenever I leave, even to just go to the bathroom. At home, I never worried about having a key or leaving my bedroom door open.
9. The kitchen
Food was available whenever I wanted it and without having to walk outside to a dining hall.
Where I live on campus, there is no laundry in my building meaning I have to carry my laundry outside to a laundry center to then pay $2 for a wash cycle and to dry. I brought clothes from the past two weeks as well as sheets, towels, bathrobe and blankets to be washed so that I could save the amount of trips to the laundry center and the cost of having to do multiple loads in order to wash everything.
While I have fallen in love with campus and the atmosphere, I really did miss home. I am excited to go back and continue finishing my first semester but I am also ecstatic to be going home in a short couple weeks for Thanksgiving break.
(All photos courtesy of Giphy)
Homecoming at Ohio University calls for a parade, football and alumni coming back to party on their old stomping grounds. Taking the unconventional route, I invited my sister Amy, a Kent State University alumna, to visit for the weekend. Through photo and interview, I captured our growing relationship as now adult siblings. A freshman experience like no other...
One Word to Describe HallOUween
When asked one word to describe their Halloween experience at Ohio University, here is what 100 people said:
Fun- My first year Halloween experience was definitely a fun one. Getting to experience the block party with friends is all I could have asked for.
Special- Knowing that the block part is the 3rd biggest block party in America, made me feel special to be able to go and enjoy it as an Ohio University student.
Cold- The night was definitely cold causing me to bundle up and cover my costume, but did not ruin my night.
"Is this school for me?"
When asked this question, I think of myself and how I made this decision. It is hard to decide at such a young age where you will spend the next four years. What I found most beneficial was to make your own personal check list of what you want in a school. Once a list is made, it will be easier to pick a school that fits into what you want. Hopefully this little list will help you decide if you are making the right decision!
Distance From Home-It is very important to decide how far you would be willing to be away from home. Do you want to be in state or out of state? Close to your hometown or as far as possible. A good way to figure out what you want, is to think the logistics of every option: will you be coming home often, what is your mode of transportation home, do you have family nearby?
Campus Life-Depending on your hometown, this may contribute to your decision if you want to be in a rural area, city campus or more of a suburb "college" town. You may also want to look into what the campus offers you for living accommodations. What are the dorms like, can you park your car on campus, what are the dinning halls like, what is there to do on and off campus?
Money-Something to consider when looking at schools, is the tuition and room and board. If you can afford a school or will need to take out loans should play a big role in picking a college. If a school is willing to give you a scholarship, you should also consider this when making the final decision on a school.
What You Value-What exactly are you looking for in a school? Are you going for sports, a specific major or educational program, the different clubs or the all around college experience at a specific school? Figure out what your priorities are that you want at your school.
Have faith that you are picking the right school. Typically, when you visit the school, you will know that you want to go their or not based on the "vibe" you will feel. If you feel at home, you will probably want to make it your home for the next four years.