Lessons from Dorm Life

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For many of us, college was a long time ago, like 15 years ago. As someone who live in a dorm for 4 years (hey, it was covered by a scholarship), I know a few things about dorms. Of course there are the main pros: a sense of security from campus police, guards, cameras, and secured entries. Here are some takeaways we got from dorm life.

Minimalism. A dorm is a simple rectangle of a room, and a bathroom if you’re lucky. Furniture is provided: bed, desk, chair, and maybe a dresser or bookcase. There isn’t room for clutter and large things, so you live with less.

  • Adult translation: be mindful about all purchases to keep clutter at bay.

Multi-purpose. Items need to serve many purposes to keep from collecting clutter. A crate is for storage, books, shelving, and holding files. An over the door pocket organizer can hold desk supplies, toiletries, shoes, jewelry, and cleaning supplies. A shoe box can hold shoes, important documents like a passport, cut off the lid to organize a sock drawer, and hold electronic devices. A desk becomes a dining table, game table, and folding station.

  • Adult translation: think outside the box to reuse and repurpose items outside of their traditional uses.

Height. Since floor space is minimal, stacking things maximizes space. Hang items from doors. Use bookshelves or create shelves with crates. Stack a bookcase above a dress if possible. Attach hanging lights to the ceiling or walls instead of lamps. Also hang clothes so dresser drawers are repurposed.

  • Adult translation: floor space should be used at a minimum and utilize height in every room.

Nooks. Something like a window sill is a very under utilized part of the room. Buy small baskets or boxes to corral everything from snacks to makeup and store them on the sill. They are short enough so you can still see out the window.

  • Adult translation: find nooks and corners of unused space and create a purpose for them.

Let us know in comments below what college living taught you.

 

How to Make Friends at Work

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Making friends is harder as you get older. It’s largely based on location, despite our virtual web-based world. Most people keep in touch with childhood friends, and even some from college. But let’s face it, we make friends at work. They are not always your ideal friends, like the ones you have a ton in common with. Still, there is a social element to the workplace.

Get the big “don’t” covered right off the bat. Do not make friends based on gossip. That is gossip about anyone in your company, customers, or vendors. The boss knows about these gossipers and you will likely get lumped in with them.

How to foster a friendship with a colleague:

  • The boss. It’s tempting to get chummy with the boss, especially if you connect on some level. But, approach with caution. Colleagues will be weary of you and assume that you are a spy for the boss.
  • Off-site workers. You should have at least one work friend if you’re both off-site employees. Speak weekly to catch up and vent a bit (but not about the boss). Bounce ideas off of each other. Ask questions. Also talk about life and maybe some stressors. Being lonely is a real thing for employees who work from home. Just that one connection boosts morale.
  • Subordinates. The people you manage, or subordinates, need to be treated with kid gloves most times. Be friendly, cordial, and professional. Since you are their boss, they may talk about you to other colleagues, so never complain about another subordinate to them. And definitely don’t speak about pay. No special treatment.

Workplace relationships can be nurtured to grow into long-lasting relationships, far beyond the “Good Morning” and “How was your weekend?” so let it come along naturally over time.

Do you work with your friends? Let us know!