The summer before freshman year of college is a special one. After months of stress applying to schools near and far, settling financial bills, and the milestone of graduating high school and the festivities that come with it, you think about your dream dorm room.
You go to Pinterest, saving each and every link with advice on how to make use of the small space you will be forced to live in for nine months with another person. Tips on organization, what to bring and what not to bring, and ideas for decoration seem to be the only thing that matters. Shopping at Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, and The Container Store occupies your schedule, and you buy ALL the possible things you could possibly need for that 11' x 15' dorm room.
Looking back, I brought WAY too much stuff down to Waco on move-in day. Now, as I prepare for sophomore year, I'm learning from my mistakes.
I know now not to bring a million different decorations to paste up on the wall with washi tape because when each inch of the wall is covered, I would feel claustrophobic.
I understand that I don't need to bring my entire wardrobe, including my winter boots (especially when its 95 degrees in that lovely Texas summer).
I learned that I need to be intentional with everything I bring to college. If I have to think about if I will use it, it's staying home.
But as I pack up my stuff again after a short-lived summer, I'm also thinking about what I want my dorm room to be like as a Community Leader.
A community leader is an upperclassman that lives in the dorms with first-year residents on Baylor University's campus. Not only do they serve to enforce rules set by the Department of Campus Living and Learning, but they also help freshman and other upperclassmen with struggles they may face during the academic school year.
Imagine you're a college student who has had the worst day ever. You spilled coffee on your favorite shirt, you flunked your Biology midterm, and you received a bad grade on your English paper. You get into a huge fight with one of your friends, and you have a million things to do before the end of the week.
At the end of a day like that, I just want to vent to someone. As a CL this year, I want my residents to come to my room to do just that.
To have the most inviting and cozy room possible to invite residents in to hang out and talk about how they can solve their problems and grow from them, I have to be intentional with what I bring. I sit in my room thinking about if I should bring plush pillows for a small couch for my residents to sit on. Do I bring a TV for a weekly movie night for them to come over? Should I invest in a Keurig to make hot cocoa for cold winter nights and late night conversations?
Things like this run through my head all the time. I don't think about what I want... it's what they could want. Nothing will be my own, and I can't wait for that. I pray for the day that all the work I put into this job will pay off. It could only take one resident sitting on my soft grey couch. One resident sitting on that couch means that it was worth bringing down to Waco.
So I won't be bringing a million decorations for my room, but I will bring cute signs to decorate our floor with. I won't bring tons of sweaters, but I will bring blankets for residents to come in and huddle in for a weekly movie night. But most importantly: I won't bring a selfish mindset that I feel comes with preparing for college the first year around.
College, I'm ready for you (this time around, I promise).