Shape up your time and space for the new semester

Any dorm-dwellers serious about rearranging their rooms could speak to one of the College’s engineering majors. Freshman mechanical engineering major Randy Reali reorganized his 13- x 13.5- foot Wolfe Hall dorm using ProEngineer, a computer program that came with one of his engineering books.

Reali measured the furniture to build 3-D virtual models, which he tested in different areas of the room on his computer. He drew lines to ensure dresser drawers opened the full 11 inches and wires would reach to outlets.

“There’s no wasted space this way, unlike in most rooms where there is wasted space around the sides,” Reali said.

Reali said he only lost about eight square feet in the room after debunking the beds. He and roommate Matt Trokan, freshman history major, tired of bunk beds after three weeks at the College.

While furniture lines Reali’s walls, the center of the room is open for many visitors and a card table. Reali said he is considering putting a recliner in. The television is viewable from all angles of the room, and the closet doors open just the right amount to reveal a makeshift cardboard and duck tape sled.

“Some of my friends on the floor used the program to arrange their rooms too; it works well,” Reali said. He added that students can also use ProDesktop, a cheaper version of ProEngineer.

The way students use their space and time reflects who they are and what is important to them. These tips for a healthy, organized

start to spring semester are collected from Web sites, self-help books, tidbits of motherly advice and even a popular children’s book.

Eliminate the monster under the bed According to Feng Shui tradition, storage of sharp objects, information or exercise equipment under the bed may cause restlessness and exhaustion. Feng Shui, the 5,000-year-old Chinese tradition of organizing rooms to allow for a positive energy flow, also suggests letting go of clutter so new ideas, relationships and opportunities can move in. Remove unneeded items from beneath the bed, in the closet and anywhere else they are eating up space, whether or not you are Feng-Shuiing your dorm. If you have not used that bamboo backscratcher or shopping bag collection in a year, you can probably get rid of it.

Identify the clutter in your schedule by

knowing your priorities. Eliminate distractions such as television and instant messenger during time set aside for studying and fitness. Start your work as soon as you get it rather than procrastinating.


After the Berenstein bear family in “The Berenstein Bears and the Messy Room” had a fall out over Brother and Sister’s disastrous room, the Bear children organized their dinosaur collections and school supplies in labeled shoeboxes stacked in the closet. Use shoeboxes, plastic crates, Tupperware containers or wire storage systems to get organized, since disorganization may cause self-aggravation and stress between roommates. Shoeboxes, easily accessible and affordable, can be decorated or simply labeled. Everything should have a place.

Plan your week using a day planner. Treat school as your job, reviewing notes and completing homework from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The daylight hours are conducive to studying, and you will appreciate having free evenings. Schedule a half hour per day for fitness, which reduces tension and provides a sense of well-being.

Have fun; leave yourself some time

If bare concrete or plaster walls make you feel like you are in prison, decorate during a free evening or weekend. Hang some of your own artwork on the walls or ask one of the College’s budding artists to paint or draw you a piece. Decorate your window with window stickers, window paint or paper snowflakes if you are hoping for (or celebrating) a snow day. For the refrigerator, use poetry magnets or attach candid photographs of your friends to thin magnets.

Schedule blocks of time during the day for doing what you like. Relax, socialize, play tennis or read. Learn a new skill. Familiarize yourself with a computer program or Web site that relates to your major. Take up stress-relieving skills such as yoga or crocheting.

Give yourself time. The College’s online advising resources recommends breaking up strenuous 50-minute reading blocks with 10-minute breaks. In “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” author Stephen R. Covey suggests taking every seventh day off. Use the time to pray or meditate and plan your week, reviewing and renewing your priorities.