Almost as soon as I’d signed my job offer, I hopped over to Pinterest for the top cubicle-decorating tips. I searched for copper paper clips and succulents that thrive indoors (with essentially zero natural light), and was all prepared for decorating that space…Then I realized that was all exterior. What actually went in my desk? What would be useful, not just pretty? This is hardly a definitive list, but it’s my standard, and it’s all the things that I think make your desk/workspace an enjoyable environment. And these aren’t exclusively for a workplace environment either! A lot of the things listed below are things that I kept stocked in my desk at college.
Pens, pencils, notepad
The essentials. And yes, you do need both pens and pencils, because you’ll have a meeting when you need to rework, erase, rework, erase something, and you’ll have notes you need to last. Hit up the dollar section in Target for some seriously cute personality pens, but keep the notepad simple. For me, that meant gel pens, but countered with a white legal pad (which I’d always wanted because they seemed v. business professional).
Tea and coffee
Because sometimes the communal keurig will be out. Keep your favorites stocked in your desk so that when you make the trip to the break room late Friday afternoon, you can still get your Starbs fix.
There are a couple of great reasons for this one. First, easy spot of color/personality. Mugs are SO cheap, and such a fun way to brighten your desk (How cute is this Anthro one? To date, one of my all-time favorites!). I’m also someone who hates drinking out of paper cups, because of the amount of lipstick I wear, so having a ceramic mug is just much prettier to look at. Also, if you drink as much tea as I do, you can blow through disposable cups pretty quickly, so it’s a good way to be economical. Full disclosure though: I feel so much put together with my fingers wrapped around a mug. That little boost of confidence is great for a meeting!
Centrally controlled temperatures are a necessary evil for office buildings. In order to keep offices from burning up, larger spaces are kept cool…for which us mortals suffer. I drop this IKEA throw over the back of my chair, and it’s perfect to drape over my legs when a pencil skirt can’t protect me from the elements. And by elements, I mean AC. *shudders of dismay*
You’re probably not cutting out paper dolls at work, but you’ll have a loose thread on your favorite cardigan, or someone will need help opening a package. You might not use them more than a couple of times, but always good to have handy, just in case.
Tissues For unexpected sneezes and for when you spill coffee. Better to have and not need, than need and not have.
For me, it’s Cholula, but for you it could be something else. Keeping a bottle in a drawer instantly ups your lunch, and saves you from having to stash hot sauce packets.
Because there’s nothing worse than running to chipotle on your 15 minute break, barely making it back to your desk, and realizing you have to go back to the breakroom and open a set of pre-wrapped cutlery, just for a fork for your burrito bowl. Or needing a spoon for your peanut butter (which isn’t on the list because, in my opinion, everyone should ALWAYS have access to some crunchy pb, so it’s redundant). Or realizing you should’ve cut your pasta before you left home. Just keep ’em stocked.
Industrial soap in the restrooms + recycled air = dry dry dry hands. Keep a neutral scent (this is my go-to), so your coworkers don’t start sniffing the air suspiciously.
You’re sitting for 8 hours a day; the inactivity is not the best for your waistline. Drinking water not only keeps you hydrated and more energized, it will get you up on your feet for quick trips to the restroom. Win win!
Obvious reason aside, it is SO nice to have one of these on hand for the day when the office feels like the North Pole. See no. 4 for reference.
As much as I wish the rest of my office appreciated the perfection that is Ed Sheeran’s new album, or the boost of motovation that comes from working to the Hamilton soundtrack, or the soothing qualities of Le Carnaval des Animaux…they do not. Headphones are the happy solution. I usually just keep one headphone in, so I can keep an ear on the conversations around me, and be attentive if I need to be.
It’s going to happen: 2:30pm. Lunch was 3 hours ago, dinner is 3 from now, and water isn’t cutting it. You have to snack. So at least try to keep some sort of healthy alternative in your desk. Otherwise you’ll have cheetos dust on your fingers and keyboard and regrets. So many regrets… These are my favorites to keep on hand!
For that special touch of whimsical. Esp. if you’re in a male dominated office environment (*cough* software dev *cough*), fairy lights are just such a nice touch. Most desks will have some sort of light, so these are a great alternative. Plus you can grab some battery powered ones, to keep your boss happy. And they’re just so pretty.
Yes, yes, I know I just said to keep a healthy snack. But these are for your desktop: they go in a pretty bowl (again, hey hey @Target dollar section), and, in addition to giving you a mid-afternoon sugar boost, they might just win you a few friends.
Hope you enjoyed poking around in my desk! Did I leave any office essentials out? What are some things you keep on hand?
It’s crazy that this is the first August in four years where I haven’t been in Collins hall. It’s even crazier that there’s a new bunch of freshman at Baylor that I’m not there to welcome! If any of y’all know the Enneagram, my 2 is out in full-force right now haha. For everyone else, suffice it to say that I’m a bit homesick for Baylor. I mean, the place was my home and identity from the time I was 17 till less than a month ago! Nothing like a bit of nostalgia to make you retrospective, so, of course, I took to the blog. I’ve put together a list of 75 things that I did/wish I did my first semester at Baylor–enjoy!
bake a cake in a mug.
find a spot in the library where you can study alone—it’s always fun to go studying with friends late at night, but how much of that is actually studying?
always. carry. your. student. ID.
introduce yourself to your dorm-neighbors.
dress all-out—I’m talking head to toe in only school colors, face paint (or just eye black) and pom poms— for a football game.
explore a different major’s building (sometimes they have really great secret study spots!).
seek out your CL/RA and ask if she wants to get coffee—she chose to live in a freshman dorm for another year for a reason, and it wasn’t free room and board; you’ll make her day 🙂
put your phone away as you walk between classes.
take a last minute roadtrip with friends.
foolproof way to make friends with people on your hall: make chocolate chips in the community kitchen; the smell is irresistible and everyone will find their way to you!
get plugged in to a church, smallgroup, or Bible study, just find some way to join a community that isn’t centered around studying.
learn the names of the people working in your favorite dining hall; soon, running into them will make your day as well as theirs!
keep a map of campus on your phone; if you’re lost, you can pass it off as texting.
wake up crazy early to grab breakfast off-campus before class starts.
ask the local movie theater if they have student discounts.
ask local food places if they have student discounts.
student discounts are your best friend, is what I’m getting at
talk to the person next to you in class—chances are, they’re trying to work up the courage to do the same.
text your high school friends before you miss them—it’s easy to wait until you’re caught up in homesickness to reach out, but keeping in touch really does keep the nostalgia at bay.
understand that you have eight semesters and somewhere around 45 classes to go—if you get a B in British Literature or Intro to Chem, you’re probably going to be okay.
make a point to call your grandparents, every now and then, not just your parents.
sign up for an aerobics class in your SLC.
make a playlist with just a handful of songs for the semester; when you hear the songs later, it’ll remind you of this time in your life.
don’t stop making friends because welcome week is over.
get a punch card to a local coffee shop, and find your favorite drink (or 7) on the menu.
have grace with your new college friends—they’ve known you for two weeks; your friends from back home have had years to get to know you.
switch to green tea from caffeine for a week.
go to your professor’s office hours; you don’t need to be failing your class to go talk to them! they might end up being the professor that will write you rec letters for grad school.
wash your bedding; a few quarters every two weeks is definitely worth it.
even more ‘worth it’ is washing (or at least switching out) your pillowcase every week.
plan to get coffee with an upperclassman in your major, to see if you like where you’ll be standing in a few years.
dress up (‘dress up’ being a loose term, meaning anything above leggings and a tshirt) for class at least once a week.
sign up for clubs that interest you, not just the ones that pad your resume
buy the meal of the person behind you at a drive through.
get your 8 hours of sleep in. i know you have a test, i know you have a class at 8, i know Stranger Things is way too addictive. go to sleep.
take an elective outside of your major.
try going make-up free for a day or so…and realize that no one actually notices.
most froyo places have deals if you go after a certain time—take advantage!
go to class, skipping really isn’t worth it.
read something that isn’t on a syllabus.
grab a friend and take lunch to-go from a dining hall, and eat at a bench around campus.
buy dishes and cutlery from the dollar store—it’s worth a few bucks to eat with utensils that aren’t Styrofoam and plastic.
volunteer through your campus, chances are they have several outreach opportunities to give back to the community that surrounds your school.
go on a coffee crawl—on a lazy sunday, try to hit up every coffee place you can with a few friends, and compare notes.
find the photobooth at every university-sponsored event.
figure out that studying for college is way different than studying for high school, and you might have to put in some more work than flipping through the text book the night before a test.
check your new friends’ facebook for their birthdays—and before you say that’s a bit much, think about this: if their birthday is in early September, they’re really worried about what it’s going to be like to celebrate it with their friends and family around them.
brew coffee or tea in your own room, and save yourself a few bucks (sorry, starbs, you know I love you!).
if you’re not from the town where you’re going to college, google ‘Top Ten Things to do in Boulder/Charlotte/Tampa etc.
if you are from the town where you’re going to college, you get to play tour guide for all your out-of-state friends!
go to sporting events early to get free tshirts.
get Ihop at 3 in the morning, after a late night of studying.
discover quizlet anew—especially the sets made by people who took your same class last semester #blessed
have an impromptu photoshoot with your new besties—someone is bound to have a fancy camera, and if not, iPhone cameras are actually surprisingly amazing. get dressed up and find a location off of campus. it’s a great stress reliever, and you’ll really treasure having those pictures!
try not to set the firealarm off while microwaving popcorn.
call your parents at least once in the first week. remember, this is their first time in twelve years where they haven’t been there for your first day.
make friends with someone with a dog.
say hi to the person whose path you cross every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on your way to your 10am.
go to a multicultural event on campus.
perfect the art of waking up ten minutes before class time, and making it on time.
memorize all the football chants. and the ones for basketball. and the ones for, if you’re in the Big 12, men’s tennis.
speaking of which, try to go to sporting events that aren’t as popular. track & field and the equestrian team train just as hard, but they don’t often get the same audience as other sports.
go to a career fair—companies might be looking for upperclassmen to offer an internship to, but you might just make a good impression! also, it’s much better to practice now, than to be nervous and blow an interaction your junior year, when you really need it.
let your hair air dry; going to your 8am with it wet might not be the best fashion statement, but your hair deserves a rest.
put hot water in a mug and sip it while studying—easy way to get your 2 liters/day in!
play around with your style; come Junior year, people will say ‘oh that’s such a you thing to wear’, so now’s the time to figure out and have fun deciding what image you want to present.
at the same time, remember that clothes aren’t everything, and that your friends will love you if you came to class in a paper bag.
have appetizers and deserts and the nicest restaurant in town.
do your nails while studying—you’re going to be sitting there for the next hour, might as well get an added benefit!
have a different color folder for each class, to make sure you never grab the wrong one! (or leave the right one in your dorm).
try to always eat breakfast, even if it’s just a piece of fruit or a granola bar, it really makes a difference.
get in the habit of wearing a watch.
buy fresh flowers every now and then—you can get mini roses and babies breath from Walmart for less than $10! they really makes your dorm room feel like home.
enjoy it. this is the first step of many many more, and it’s something special. you have your friends from high school, and your new soul sisters from college; treasure them both. go cliff-jumping, eat at food trucks, chase sunsets. make memories that will warm your heart to remember.