10 tips for your room at university
23rd August 2011
10 fail-safe tips to help your children settle in seamlessly at university from Rosie Millard.
Rosie advises that freshers should buy themselves a big teapot and lots of mugs in order to make friends in their unfamiliar digs
A-level results are just around the corner, which means that parents across the country will soon have to face the dreaded moment when their little darlings head off to university.
For new students, it is a chance to flee the coop. You don’t want to arrive with a big picture of your mother and father. But it is still important to make your room homely. You’ll spend most of your days dropping in on others, and being dropped in on yourself. Your room becomes an extension of you. Having the right decorations is key.
Here are 10 ways students can make the new life easier, and ease the strain on their parents.
1 Pack a trunk
A new room won’t feel like home until you’ve filled it with your personal flourishes. Freshers should take a tip from boarding school veterans, and pack a large trunk with all the nick-nacks and antiques that make their rooms feel special.
Books, artworks, and curios dotted around will make it clear that you are an interesting individual. A trunk can also be used as an impromptu chair or table, for when all the new chums descend for drinking games.
2 Avoid obvious clichés
Leave behind anything to do with Che Guevara, or those French Art Nouveau Absinthe/Black Cat posters. Everyone has them. Ditto Abercrombie and Fitch ads or the Keep Calm and Carry On poster which your mum has in the kitchen back home.
3 Don’t wear your heart on your walls
You probably don’t want to alienate that charming person you met at Fresher’s Week with a Socialist Workers Unite poster on the wall, or a Young Conservatives summer party invitation. So keep it to a couple of vaguely interesting pictures and a cork pinboard. And don’t forget a hammer and some picture hooks.
4 Gap-year conversation starters
Pack that lovely Mexican throw, the baseball glove from your summer in America and the cushions from Bulgaria. They will make your room look different, and encourage conversation on something you know about. Avoid marshalling new friends through the 5,000 photos of you bungee jumping in South Africa. Even if it was Just Incredible.
Eating together is part of the fun. Arriving with just one plate, one fork, one knife, one spoon and one mug sends out the wrong message.
A few big jazzy dishes and serving spoons for the communal spaghetti bolognese are essential. A big teapot or an eight-cup cafetière is a good idea too.
It is also crucial to have a few recipes, to avoid existing entirely on Cheerios and alcopops. Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course has probably saved millions of young lives. In particular, her barbecue chicken is simple and delicious. There is a great list of student cookbooks at www.cybersplat.co.uk.
6 Bed moments
You will spend a lot of your time in bed, so it might as well be comfortable. Invest in some proper blankets or Egyptian cotton sheets from John Lewis. You could also check out linen in the Heal’s sale as it is usually available at a massive discount. While we’re on soft furnishings, a pair of decent curtains will brighten up your room and make it personal. Habitat or John Lewis have a ready-made selection.
Boring, but not nearly as boring as being caught without them. Essentials include a corkscrew, extension plug, rubber bands, laundry baskets, a desk lamp and tea towels.
With university fees darkening the horizon, you (and your parents’ banks) may not feel like spending a lot of money on going out. Pack some good old fashioned board games. Pinch the family Scrabble or Monopoly, and also take some packs of playing cards. They will be crucial if you are going to live up to your ambition of funding your way through university by playing poker.
A portable instrument such as a ukulele or guitar is a brilliant accessory. Particularly if you know how to play it, and have a selection of seductive Paul Simon numbers up your sleeve. But leave the Fender electric guitar, just for the moment, until you get a better handle on the character and tastes of your neighbours.
10 Finally, things to avoid
Old school files will make you look sad. Giant pictures of a distant lover may put off a new or current lover. An exercise bike, or other fitness equipment are sure to only sit and gather dust.
Source: Telegraph 22/8/11