Everything you need to know about settling into your new student home
Learnt from painful first hand experience
Settling into your new university house can be unsettling to say the least.
It may be that you’ve just left home for the first time or that you’re switching from one student address to another.
So below are a list of tried and tested tips for settling into your new house that will go a long way to making you feel more at home.
Bring some home comforts
The quickest way to make an unfamiliar environment feel familiar is to bring some home comforts with you to personalize your new space. Whether it’s a favourite cozy blanket that you drape over your bed, a collection of photos you stick to the walls or some plants to bring some life to a drab area, these simple objects can really help to make you feel more homey.
Make yourself at home
Another thing thing I’ve found really helps me to feel at home somewhere is to make myself at home. Doing things as simple as exploring the whole house, poking around the cupboards and relaxing on the sofas make a place feel more familiar and give you a better sense of belonging.
Mark out boundaries
Whilst you’re doing things to make yourself at home it is also definitely a good idea to mark out boundaries in the house. In the kitchen, share out the cupboards between the group, decide who is using which bathroom and before your move in determine a fair way to pick rooms. If boundaries are not marked you may find that petty arguments and disagreements begin to arise so it’s best to mark boundaries early on.
Make your bedroom your sanctuary
The most important space in the house is your bedroom. The one space that is entirely your own, this room will be your headquarters, doubling up as your office during term time. I’ve found that once you feel settled in your bedroom you’re likely to feel settled in the rest of the house. Decorate your room with home comforts and you’ll love your new sanctuary in no time!
Set some ground rules
When you move into your new house you have to settle not only into a new place but a new social group. Whether you’re a fresher put in a flat with people you’ve never met for the first time, or a third year changing groups, the chances are you’ll be living with at least a few new people at any given stage of your university life. To avoid any conflict among your group make sure you set some ground rules at the beginning of term. Decide whether you’ll organise a cleaning roster and how you’ll sort out paying bills and you’ll be able to avoid confusion or disagreements later in the year.
Focus on the positives
If you’ve done any house hunting at university, chances are you will have noticed that student houses aren’t the most glamorous places. I’ve seen houses with mold, sinks full of dirty dishes and bedrooms that smell like something (or someone) has died in it. Hopefully you will have managed to find a house that you’re happy to live in and whilst it may not be perfect, it’s important to focus on the positives. Remember that it’s all part of the university experience, and the chances are there are students out there with houses far worse than yours!
Make some new memories
If you’re struggling to see the positives of your new home you could try and make some new memories that you can fill your home with. Have some friends over for a housewarming meal or host a pre-drinks, plan a movie night with your flatmates and invite your family up for a visit. After a year of great memories in your new house you’ll probably find it difficult to leave!
Explore the area
Another way to make new memories in your new house is to explore the local area. If you’re in Clifton Village you could try embracing the quaint cafe and brunch culture or if you’re in the city centre you can indulge your inner shopaholic with some retail therapy in Cabot Circus. Learn to love the area you’re in and loving your house will be that bit easier.
Develop a new routine
Whilst exploring the area and settling into your new home it can also help to develop a new routine. Whether it’s finding cafes you could pop into on your way back from university or nearby supermarkets to do your daily food shop in, sticking to some sort of routine can make life at your new environment more settled and organised.
Remember it’s only temporary
If none of these tips are working and you still find yourself struggling to settle into your new house remember that it’s only temporary. If the house is really awful you can move out in a year and if you’re having second thoughts about the group you’re with you’ll have plenty of time to find a new one.
University is also a great place to tackle new challenges and learn how to avoid similar mistakes in the future. See every experience as a learning opportunity and you’ll probably find that you’re a happier person for it.