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How to Make University Feel like Home

When we first move to university it’s natural to feel homesick. Our new homes – be it halls or a shared house – are usually an impersonal room hosting just an empty bed, chair, and desk, which doesn’t scream “welcome home”. However, there are little changes we can make that will transform university life into feeling like home.

1. Making Your Room Your Own

Feet in mismatched socks against photo wall
Susie Williams

At first, all university bedroom’s look identical. Adding your own personal touches, like your bedding from home, putting up your favourite band poster on your pinboard or bringing small comforts like smiling photos of family and friends can help make it feel welcoming and familiar.

“I got home items like beddings and rugs that looked similar to the ones I use back home.” Ify, 22, says about how she’s made her university room feel like home. “I’ve put up my perfume collection on a section of my bookshelf because that’s what I used to do at home.”

Your university room is a whole new place but finding subtle ways to make it feel familiar will turn it into your home away from home in no time.

2. Brightening Your Space

For many of us, university accommodation bedrooms can be dingy spaces with only one tiny window and with the winter season quickly creeping in, our days are getting shorter and darker. It may seem cliché but covering every possible inch of your room in fairy lights to bask it in a warm glow is guaranteed to make your room feel more homely. Guaranteed.

Adopting a house plant to your room can also help bring life to a dreary shelf and being a proud plant parent can help ward away those homesick feelings (I’d recommend a cactus as they’re near impossible to kill).

3. Chores: Okay, Just Hear Me Out

There are ways to make our university world feel like home through the boring chores we already have to do. Using the same washing products to clean our clothes that us or our parents would use at home means we have one less thing to adjust to because we’ll have brought the smell of home with us.

Another one is cooking. It can be really tempting to live up to the student stereotype of living solely off Pot Noodles, but there’s a reason why it’s called a home-cooked meal, and, in my experience, a warm, tasty meal has never not made me feel better.

4. Keeping It Clean and Calm

My Room
Original photo by Lauren Peacock

The first few weeks of university can be chaos. Between first lectures, give-it-a-go events, and socials we can be rushing in and out of our new rooms constantly. It might mean that we barely have a second to tidy up those clothes strewn across the floor or to clean up the million cups scattered across the desk but chiselling out a bit of time to keep our room a calm, relaxed space does help make it feel homely.

I tried to think of a cool way to say tidy room equals a tidy mind, but I don’t think it’s possible. So, as much as it sounds like parent propaganda that’s what I’m getting at. For me, I feel the furthest from home when I’m stressed out and overwhelmed. Cleaning up the room (even if it means shoving the clothes in the bottom of the wardrobe for now), so that you have a quiet place that is entirely your own to sit and relax feels important.

Moving to a new place and claiming that space as home takes time. You need to give yourself the chance to adjust but by making small changes that can bring that familiarity with us no matter how far we have travelled can help us create the calm, homely space everybody needs while they’re at university.

Holly Peters

Exeter '22

I'm a Masters student studying Creative Writing who doesn't need any encouragement to talk at length about the recent band I've just discovered, my dogs or Paul Rudd movies.
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