Living on campus is a weird thing to do as a graduate student — you’ve already 'done' the undergraduate dorm thing and living in a residence hall can feel childish in some ways. One of the nice things about Clark University's graduate housing is that during the academic year, you are not assigned to a room in a traditional building with a long hallway, shared bathroom, and no kitchen. Only private, single-use bathrooms for you, here on out!Clark’s graduate housing is situated in apartment style buildings with anywhere from 3-12 apartments in the building. This feels much more like true 'adulting' and city living — you only share your bathroom and kitchen with the people in your apartment. You may see your neighbors on your way to class or to run errands. You have laundry located in your building or the neighboring building.
There are shops located directly below your apartment (or within walking distance). You are still close enough to campus that walking to see a professional or grab a coffee from the Den or Jazzman’s in the library is easy to do. Living in Clark’s graduate housing means having all the comforts of living on campus without undergraduate students living above or below you.
The next part of the equation is really making these rooms/ apartments feel like your own. So, where to begin? Let’s start with what you need:
You will definitely want to pack any and all academic instruments you may need for your study. Notebooks? A laptop or tablet? Highlighter, pens, pencils, graph paper? You can bring these or purchase them once you arrive.
What about your day-to-day necessities? The clothing that you wear, any toiletries you may need, kitchen items to cook with. This will include winter layers, coats, hats, boots, and bedding like blankets, sheets, and pillows. All graduate rooms come with a Twin XL bed. Soap, shampoo, razors, medication are all things you should pack (or plan to pick up when you arrive). Do you like to cook? Don’t forget your pots, pans, spatulas and utensils! Don’t like to cook? Utensils, bowls, cups, etc. are still good to have.
These apartments are not air conditioned, so we do encourage folks to bring fans with them to help cool off their room during the warmer months.
What about what you want? How do you make your apartment and room feel like home?
Some students like little plants- succulents, cacti, or ferns. Do you like music? Maybe a little boombox for your tunes, or headphones to listen on your own. Pictures of your friends and loved ones, artists, role models, or academics that you care about. Maybe you like softer lighting- floor and desk lamps, or string lights, are a great way to make the space warm and comforting. Small throw rugs and blankets can also go a long way in making a space feel more like your own. You are welcome to bring fish into your Clark graduate apartment in up to a 10 gallon tank — no other animals or pets are permitted.
Personally, I collect postcards from all the places I’ve been to and hang those on my wall. It is a great way to remind myself of the cool places I’ve been and makes my apartment feel like mine. Do you collect anything? Action figures, or coins? Bringing a couple of those to display in your room will make the space your own and be a cool talking point to any friends you may invite over in the future.
Don’t forget to connect with your future roommates before you arrive! Maybe someone else owns an Instapot or air fryer they are willing to bring (and share).
When it comes to decorating your new home, it’s all about what is going to make your apartment feel the coziest — but also a productive space, so that you can still get work done!
Kate Cassidy is Director of Campus Life for Residential Life & Housing at Clark University. Kate received her B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross, and her M.S. from The University of Rhode Island. She's worked at Clark since 2016.