The first – and most enduring – challenge a university student faces is the issue of room decoration. Whether you’re in campus accommodation or renting privately elsewhere, you’ll be spending a lot of time there. So it’s worth putting the effort in to personalise your room.
You’ll likely find upon arrival that you’ve brought more stuff than you’ve the space for. This isn’t the end of the world, but there are some things you can do to make this easier. Keep the boxes and suitcases you’ve brought, and store inside them anything excess and put them under the bed. To cut down on clutter, avoid packing any appliances – you’ll have access to these in accommodation. I’d also suggest bringing a familiar air freshener with you. The rooms are all clean, but getting the place smelling like home from the get-go is a positive.
All the rooms come decked out with a generous amount of pinboard space, and I’d strongly suggest you use it. There’s obvious stuff to put on there, like photos or cards, but I also recommend you get a calendar to hang up and keep updated throughout term. It’s just a small way of helping you feel like you’re on top of things.
As the days get shorter and the weather bleaker, it’s especially important to get your room decorated according to your interests and hobbies. If low-maintenance house plants are your thing (or even high-maintenance ones), put a few around the place. As a big reader, I stacked the shelves in my room with books I’d brought from home. Other people along my first-year corridor had sewing machines, games consoles, and makeshift cinema screens. It’s easy to get caught up in the workload and social scene, so making your room a kind of sanctuary is worthwhile.
Room decoration is the fun part, room maintenance is another thing. Don’t let it become a dumping ground for things that belong somewhere else. These rooms are quite cosy, so as far as possible, keep your kitchen stuff in the kitchen to avoid having pots and pans strewn over the place. A clear desk is a clear mind. Invest in some folders and stationery pots. And be sure to keep check on how many half-empty mugs you leave around. Equally, try not to let your room become your primary study location. It might work for some people, but in general my advice is to not do all your readings inches away from the bed you sleep in.
On the same note, don’t hem yourself in with curtains closed and blinds drawn shut: get some light into the place. York is a great campus and an incredibly attractive city – treat yourself to the sight of it.
Finally, if you only take one small piece of advice, please let it be this: bring an extension cable and ear plugs. With an extension cable and ear plugs, there’s nothing at uni you can’t handle.