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Cultivating work spaces in childhood bedrooms

Nothing can be more infantilizing than requesting that your mother not offer you a glass of milk during a Zoom-class. Some may know the deep embarrassment of your cat displaying its buttocks to your webcam amid class discussions. This, unfortunately, is the situation many Carls face as they learn remotely. The austere environment of Carleton, with its noble buildings, stern-looking professors, and lack of loud family members was taken away last term. How can we be serious about our academics when our bed is shaped like a race car and (still) makes us say “vroom, vroom?” When will we get the motivation to check our email if our dog demands to be petted every minute of every hour? Where can we find solitude to read if our grandma alternates between laughing loudly and screaming at her telenovelas?

These haunting concerns can be traced to our home environments, specifically our childhood bedrooms. Students can make their rooms more conducive to work by, however, following the tips listed below, given by the Carletonian’s in-house expert on productivity Maxine “Max” Order. 

  1. Refer to your bedroom as “your office.” It is no longer a place to sleep but also where you will grind on work and attend class. This also lends credibility when you request to be left alone: “Dad, I’ll be in my office. Please text me if you need anything.” Doesn’t that sound official? 
  2. Dedicate a corner of your room to keep clean and presentable for last-minute Zoom meetings. Instead of turning your camera off to avoid shame, you will participate well in class. 
  3. Invest in locks. Younger siblings are rambunctious, lacking all social awareness and patience. With locks, you’ll focus better and reduce anxiety regarding untimely interruptions. The only drawback is your door will bear the abuse of little fists pounding as the youngster cries out for attention. 
  4. Soundproof your room with blankets, socks, or really anything to block the noises of your caregivers passionately discussing toilet paper. If you are lucky enough to have sound-proof headphones, keep them handy at all times. 
  5. Open your curtains to remind yourself what time of day it is. Try to work when it is bright and do a little less work when it is dark (this is called night and is when people sleep, remember?) 
  6. If you share a room with a sibling, use tape to partition your side of the room. This border should be as feared and respected as the Korean Demilitarized Zone. There are no negotiations for crossing the boundary. Assert your dominance by throwing objects at your sibling should they trek over the line. 
  7. Wear pants.

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