The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Dorm, Sweet Dorm

Dorm, Sweet Dorm

Perfectly matching duvets and pillowcases adorn the Twin-XL beds in SMU first-year student Stephanie Novellas’ new dorm room. A fluffy white rug covers the generic, blue carpeting, and the harsh lines of the industrial blinds are hidden behind crisp, white curtains.

“Decorating my room in a way that I liked made it feel more like home,” said Novellas, who lives in Armstrong.

Novellas is like many first-year students, taking the leap from a comfortable and familiar home to sharing a small space with a roommate. These students are often faced with homesickness.

“Studies report that around two-thirds of students feel lonely or homesick the first year,” said SMU Health Center Psychologist Nicole Stillo.

Decorating their tiny dorm rooms can add a feeling of coziness for students, transforming the generic space into one that reflects the personality of those who live in it.

Taylor Olsen's dorm
Pictures decorate sophomore Taylor Olsen’s bed Photo credit: Mia Wennick

For many students, the journey from high school to college is a scary one, full of unexpected new adventures and unfamiliar surroundings. As incoming freshman make the transition from bedroom to dorm room, many bring familiar reminders of home with them, hoping to make the change a little easier.

SMU students are required to live on campus for their first two years. Many say they try and make these new rooms as comfortable and “home-y” as possible.

Taylor Olsen's desk area
Pictures decorate sophomore Taylor Olsen’s desk area Photo credit: Mia Wennick

“Other ways of coping with homesickness include recreating a piece of ‘home’ in your new dorm room or apartment,” said Ms. Stillo.

Students bring items like stuffed animals, blankets they’ve had since childhood, and pictures of loved ones along with them to SMU.

These mementos of familiar places bring feelings of ease and familiarity. Dorm room decorations became more than superficial for sophomore Ali Weil, who decorated with photos of her hometown’s skyline.

Chicago skyline
Chicago skyline in Weil’s room Photo credit: Mia Wennick

“I brought a picture of the Chicago skyline with me, because it reminds me of where I grew up and the memories I had there,” she said.

While living in a small room is a large shift for many, the addition of a roommate adds an even bigger transition. Many roommates coordinate decorations, adding an element of design to these originally bare rooms. Decorating these 180-250-square-foot room makes the space feel even comfier, and enjoyable.

Not only did Novellas bring matching decorations, but also mementos from home.

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“I mainly brought a bunch of pictures to hang on my wall of some of my favorite memories from the past couple of years that I constantly look at,” she said.

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