One of the great unspoken experiences of university life is home-sickness. The life of a student is portrayed in lots of different ways: as a decadent staggering from hungover lie in to cheap pub via Countdown, as aspiring politicians learning how to lead a protest, as the next generation of actors treading the boards for the first time, or as desperate all-night workers struggling to it a deadline.
While all these things are true, it’s rare for anyone to go through university without feeling a least little homesickness – the chance to reinvent yourself and learn what sort of adult you want to be means you also have to let go of the certainties and comfort of childhood. A little sadness is to be expected at times, and it’s easier to deal with if you’re expecting it and can be prepared.
One of the most important things you can do is make your student accommodation feel like a home. Whether you’re moving into the storied halls of residence at Oxford or Cambridge or the less legendary but perhaps more up to date student accommodation Sheffield has to offer, student accommodation has a certain blandness forced on it. So many different students have lived in that room over the years, that it’s hard for it to feel like a home. It can only ever be a temporary residence.
The most important step to beating homesickness – or making it a passing feeling you can endure, rather a crushing weight – is to put your own stamp on your student accommodation. Make it feel like your home and suddenly you have somewhere to belong. Bring a few keepsakes with you to help you settling into university: whether they’re soft toys, books you love, posters or mementoes from gigs you’ve been to, some reminders of your life before university won’t compromise your attempts to reinvent yourself as a student, but they will give you a sense of continuity.
On top of that, many student unions have regular poster sales, which gives you the chance to personalise your room cheaply, so it feels more like yours! Just make sure you put them up carefully without damaging the walls so you can avoid a fine when you move out.
You can also try to avoid working in your room– modern university libraries and common areas come equipped with lots of places to study, so if you arrive early and stake out a spot you can do your work there and avoid the added stress of turning your room into a work space. If somewhere you never have to work it’s a real safe haven!