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DeLena Ciamacco is a well-known, respected Top Producing Realtor in Central Ohio. Her myriad of accomplishments, recognition, and professional credentials as they relate to Real Estate, make her a perfect individual to provide insight to the masses on all aspects of Real Estate sales. Her creativity and honest approach to marketing Real Estate has enabled her to succeed in her career. DeLena’s philosophy is “An educated and well prepared Buyer or Seller is a smart Buyer or Seller”. Her desire is to inform the public, by pulling from her 20+ years of Real Estate sales & Marketing, what is necessary to get to a successful closing in these challenging times.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Back to School 2012: Dorm 101

Now that July is over and we’re into August, the end of summer is well within site. This means that soon enough, children will begin their journey back to school (Ah, I can hear the groaning and eye rolling now.) Sure, most kids under 18 will be dragging their feet all the way to the bus stop, but for those lucky young adults ready to take the next step and head off to college this fall, this time of year can be anything but dreaded. A plethora of knowledge and experiences await them; but what about something as simple as their dorm room? Most kids won’t give it much thought besides which bedspread they want and what posters to put up, but here are a couple tips on what to bring, and what to leave at home when preparing for the college dorm experience.

Essentials:

 
        1. Extra-long sheets
If you’re purchasing sheets for a dorm bed, it’s important to remember that your regular twin bed sheets just aren’t going to fit it, no matter how much you stretch and pull. There seems to be a universal law among colleges that all twin beds in dorms be an extra foot or so longer, to accommodate the tallest of students. This means that you’re going to have to be on the lookout for sets of extra-long sheets (Also known as Twin XL). Most big name stores that you’re already buying supplies from will carry them, and usually have quite a selection around back to school time. Just make sure you’re paying attention to the label and picking up the correct size; retailers seem to have a knack for stocking regular sizes right next to the extra-long variety in the same color/patterns (trust me, I sadly know this from experience.)


 
1.      2. Shower caddies/flip flops
Although I have yet to encounter a college environment I would deem unkempt or unclean, it’s very important for prospective students to remember that you’re sharing an environment with potentially hundreds of other people. If there’s one place on campus to remember this little fact, it’s definitely the dorm bathroom. While you’re out getting those extra-long sheets, be sure to pick up a handy shower caddy to keep all bathroom essentials packed together and safe. Most dorms do not allow you to keep your shampoos and soaps within the actual bathroom (they’ll most likely be thrown away by cleaning staff) and who wants someone from down the hall using their personal cleaning items in the meantime? Something else that should be kept with your shower caddy: a pair of water-proof flip flops to wear in the shower. Like I said, I wouldn’t call most college bathrooms “unclean”, but bacteria thrives on wet surfaces, and athlete’s foot is notorious in dorm showers. Better to be safe than sorry. 

 
1.       3. Lanyards
Seems simple enough, huh? Chances are you already have a lanyard of some kind, or will receive a complementary one the second you step foot on campus. I myself didn’t realize how useful they could be until I was juggling text books, a backpack, a purse, and a hundred other things while trying to not lose my keys and student i.d. Most colleges will charge fees for replacement of a dorm key/i.d. and if you don’t like the idea of a random person possibly having access to your room, it’s important to keep a solid eye on those things. A good lanyard can keep all your essentials within arm’s reach. 

 
1.       4. Fans
Parents, brace yourselves: in the next couple weeks, I guarantee you will receive AT LEAST one cranky phone call complaining about just how hot it is in your student’s dorm. It’s a terrible fact that most dorms do not possess air conditioning, making fans an absolute essential. Your standard box window fan is your safest bet for keeping cool, especially if you end up on a top floor (remember, hot air rises!) You might also want to invest in a small, personal fan to keep comfortable while trying to sleep. No matter what you choose to use, remember that some colleges do not allow appliances that consume over a certain amount of electricity. Check with your school’s Student Housing department to make sure you’re within compliance. Another sly tip: Most schools do in fact provide air conditioning units, available to students with breathing and allergy conditions. In some cases, having a basic doctor’s note can upgrade you from furnace to five star living. 

 
1.       5. Headphones
For most students who own ipods, this is already probably packed and ready. However, no one quite understands the importance of a simple pair of headphones until they fully enter the college environment. Sure, everyone likes to listen to their music, but imagine all of the distractions going on around you on campus. Headphones can be a godsend when you’re attempting to study for a big test, or you’ve got a roommate with a snoring problem. 


 
1.       6. A door stop/snacks
These items might seem a little strange, but make no mistake; they are crucial to the college experience! Once settled in, it’s important for students to get to know their neighbors, form bonds, and make friends. Nothing helps as much as having a good sturdy door stop to allow potential new friends to stop by and chat. It gives others a chance to get to know you on a different level than running into each other on the way to the bathroom. Snacks of course, are an added bonus; my best friend used to keep an entire drawer full of chips and cookies, leading to several chances to make new friends. Of course students are there to learn first and foremost, but not having a strong support system of friends and acquaintances can really be a drain on the college experience. 


Do not bring:

 
-Overly expensive items

It’s a sad fact of life that no matter where you go, there are going to be a few bad eggs. Hence why you won’t want to bring anything overly expensive that isn’t necessary to college. Leave any expensive clothing, accessories, electronics, or anything similar at home. It’s understandable that most kids are going to need a laptop, ipod, tv, ect. But you’ll want to cut down on potential theft in the dorm. While a locked door can do wonders to deter theft, it’s not the last line of defense. Discuss the importance of placing all valuables in a concealed area that possible thieves won’t think to check. 

 
-Pets
This should go without saying, but college just isn’t the place for Fido or Fluffy. Most, if not all college dorms have a strict no animal policy that does not allow furry critters of any kind. I’m sure the majority of students are already aware of this, but you’d be surprised at the things some people try to get away with. If it isn’t a cat or dog, but you are unsure of a school’s policy on if it is allowed, it’s better to just be safe and not bring it along. Most students will be spending the vast majority of their time studying, going to classes, or sleeping; maintaining a pet just isn’t conducive to college life. If you find yourself needing some sort of animal companionship, dorm favorites are goldfish, turtles, and hermit crabs for their low need for attention/interaction, and their inability to escape and terrorize your roommates.  

 
-Your textbooks
I know this sounds crazy, but hear me out. Most colleges allow you to browse classes and requirements online these days, and even print lists of necessary materials. Many students can buy their books from the on campus bookstore as soon as they arrive, and have them ready to go for the first day of class. The problem with this method? Most classes, although covering the same topics, are taught by a number of different teachers at different times, all with different requirements. You can potentially spend hundreds of dollars on textbooks that your professor will never use, only to sell it back to the bookstore for a fraction of the price. The smart thing to do is to simply wait for the first day of class, and allow your professor to announce what they require. The best way to buy your books is by looking them up on a site like Amazon.com (They have a wonderful offshoot for college called Amazon Student) or Half Price Books.com. These sites allow you to find the exact same books sold in the bookstore for a fraction of the price. You can save potentially hundreds of dollars a year simply from picking up a used textbook instead of shelling out for the shiny new addition. 

 
Resources:

When it’s time to get out there and start gathering your supplies for back to school, make sure to look at Target’s Back to College collection. They offer a wide range of products catered to all styles, with an emphasis on being functional yet trendy. Another great store for dorm shopping is Bed, Bathand Beyond especially if you’re looking for simple and effective storage solutions for a cramped space.

Like I mentioned earlier, you can’t beat Amazon.com’s selection when it comes to buying textbooks, but Half Price Books is also worth a good look. Most of those sites also allow you to sell the books back, so make sure to take care of them for a higher resale price.

And finally, if your student is looking for awesome ideas on how to decorate their dorm room, head over to Pinterest.com and look through some of their simple and creative methods to personalize an empty space. 



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