The realisation that in two weeks I will have moved to a brand new country and start university in a city I’ve never even been to has just begun to sink in. As I’ve been wondering what kind of year Leiden will hold for me, I’ve found myself reflecting on what moving to Leicester for the first time was like. I still remember the car ride down with my mum, the fear of what my new flatmates would be like, feeling like I’d just been dropped into an alien world with no safety net of going home to my family at the end of it. Although I ended up having one of the best years of my life, it’s still scary making that move to uni.
One way that I found comfort when I was feeling overwhelmed with freshers and the newness of Leicester was by covering my room in a load of drab! As evidenced by my photo of my first year pin board, my room became a contender for the gayest decorated place in Leicester (I even had a rainbow feather boa hanging from my door).
My first year pin board, complete with rainbow cushion
Aside from the fact that dressing you place up in rainbows hugely brightens up what can seem like a small and lifeless room when you first arrive, surrounding yourself with these things in a place that you will spend a huge part of your time at uni in can have a big impact on how ‘at home’ you feel. For me, dressing my room up in things I had collected from going to pride parades in Newcastle reminded me of being in a space surrounded by my friends, where I felt most comfortable and positive. It served as a reminder when I’d get in after having a bad day that I had wonderful people and memories in my life.
Aside from all the gay stuff, I also had decorations that people had sent or gifted me over the year. Some of my favs were an embroidery hoop and wall hanging my friend gave me for my birthday, as well as a load of cute cards hanging up that my mum sent me throughout the year (what a star!). As you may have already been suggested by a hoard of uni students, photos are also a great way to fill your room with reminders of good times. Personally, I like hanging up photos that are less photogenic but ones that make me laugh, especially badly shot ones with my friends.
Cushions and nice bedding is also useful, not only for when you come in shattered from having a load of revision during exam period and just want to crash on your bed, but also for when you have your new uni friends coming round to your room, or friends from home up to visit. Even a small room like mine was can feel way less cramped and uncomfortable with a couple of cushions scattered around the place!