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When you walk into your dorm or apartment for the very first time, it can feel empty. It’s easy to remember to bring the basics, but in the stress of trying not to forget the necessities, you can leave behind things that will make your space more you. It seems trivial and unimportant at first, but when you’re halfway through the year, on a lonely winter day, you’ll start to feel homesick. Here’s how to avoid this by making your dorm feel more homey and more you.




At pretty much every outing back home, there’s this unspoken agreement that we must have a mini photoshoot. I have hundreds of pictures that help me remember the best and the worst nights I’ve ever had. I love putting up my favorites on the walls in my dorm, because sometimes I pay an extra amount of attention to it, and I’m brought back to that moment.

(Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash)


Putting up pictures of your loved ones from back home and from the new memories you’re making at college is the easiest way to add more personality to your space. They are snapshots of your life that will help you feel less homesick and remind you of the fun times you had, as well as the new ones you are creating.


Throw Blankets and Pillows


Back home, my family has an entire closet dedicated to extra throw blankets and pillows. I have the best memories of sleepovers with friends or movie nights with family where we would raid that closet. I’ve always loved having a lot of pillows and blankets around because it makes me feel as happy as when I did on those nights.

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash


Throw Blankets and Pillows are also a great way to personalize your space. They create a more cozy atmosphere. There are an unlimited amount of combinations you can create when it comes to pillows and blankets. The warmth that comes with both is a nice cure for homesickness.




When I first moved into my dorm I didn’t put up lights. It wasn’t something I thought I would want or need in my room. Around the holiday season, Target was selling string lights for $5. So, I decided to buy some to decorate my dorm for the season. My roommate and I ended up loving the way they make our room look and feel, so much that we decided to keep them up for the rest of the year.

Photo by Marcus Wallis on Unsplash


And let’s be honest. The lighting in dorms or apartments suck. The standard light that comes in your room can make the space feel more like a prison cell rather than your new home. An easy way to brings better lighting into your space is to string up some fairy or holiday lights. You can find both of these options online or at the store and they come in lots of different styles and colors. 



I bought a yearbook for every single year I was in school. I love the idea of having a book that can bring me back to a whole year of my life. I initially didn’t bring my yearbook to college. I figured I wouldn’t need it. But, I went back home to visit and decided to bring it back with me. As I was flipping through it with my roommate, we got so much closer as we discovered things we didn’t know we had in common.

Photo by Laura Fuhrman on Unsplash


Your high school yearbook is something you likely didn’t bring to college with you. But, it is a great way to reminisce on your past years and can be a conversation starter for you and your new friends. Having your yearbook can not only comfort you, but it can be a way to discover new things about your college friends.  


Comfort Foods


I make runs to the grocery store probably every other week. Regardless of the fact that a meal plan is included when you stay in the dorms, my roommate and I love to keep our favorite snacks on hand when we’re having an especially stressful night or when we just don’t feel like leaving the dorm for food.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash


Sometimes, comfort foods really can bring you comfort. It’s good to have a bag of your favorite chips or cookies on hand for a day where you’re just feeling down. That bag of chips or cookies can make you feel better and less homesick. It’s simple, yet effective.


Memory Box


Back home, I kept a bulletin board filled with mementos from fun nights with my friends. When I was cleaning out my room in preparation to move into the dorms, I took down everything from that bulletin board and placed it into a box that now sits under my bed. I pull it out if I’m ever seriously homesick and it helps bring back a smile to my face.


Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash


Creating a memory box filled with pictures, ticket stubs, and souvenirs is a fun way to on the days when you are feeling especially homesick. It’s your happy moments in a box, which will help put a smile on your face.


Many college students are victims of homesickness. It’s a common feeling that affects your day to day life and can influence how well you do in school. It’s not an impossible feeling to cure. Reminding yourself of the old times and the new memories you are currently creating will get you out of any rut of homesickness.



Genevieve Ortiz

UC Riverside '23

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