Listen up freshers; you’re excited to start your university career, you’re ready to fly the nest and see the wide world for all its worth. You’ll have the time of your life, and that’s great! But, should there come a time when the bravado sinks away and the hangover sets in, eventually, you’ll miss those home comforts you never knew you had.
Below, we’ll share a few nuggets of wisdom from those who’ve been and done it before you (and wish they were doing it again), to help you make a home away from home.
Fill those bare walls
Student accommodation can look a little drab upon first inspection but try and see those empty walls as a blank canvas to stamp your personality onto (although not too permanently if you want your deposit back). Photos are a simple start, particularly with the number of easy-to-use printing sites available. Choose photos of family, pets, and friends from back home and display them proudly on your walls. Once you’ve settled in, getting some photos of your new friends alongside will help to blend your two worlds together.
For covering larger areas, choose posters – of which you’ll see and get plenty of during your first few weeks – flags, or tapestries. Using command strips is a quick and impermanent way to hang larger items, plus is an easy job come move-out day.
Create a social space
Making your room a desirable place for your new house mates to spend time in can be important for your social connections early on. While you won’t want them in there all the time, creating a bit of a hub for conversation – perhaps with a TV, board games, or a drinks collection – can help strengthen those bonds with your new family.
Make sure you have some extra makeshift seating, such as a beanbag or plenty of cushions. A lamp with a warm bulb is a good choice here too, setting an ambience for those evenings in. While it may not be top of your priority list early on, having a room that is adaptable as a group study area will help your own learning and be appreciated by all.
Create a safe space
For those days – and they will come – where the work needs to happen, or maybe those evenings where you need a quiet moment, having a sanctuary that you can retreat to, and reset, is paramount to your wellbeing and social stamina. Make sure your room is a clean, nice-smelling, and comfy area. Keeping a hot drinks station handy is perfect for making a brew on a contemplative night, ready to ring your Nan and retune.
Effects such as fairy lights, a rug, and houseplants will help to soften the initial unfamiliar surroundings – also, if you’re missing home, washing your bedding with the same washing powder your family use back home will do wonders for a nostalgic night’s sleep.