My university experience as told through IKEA trips!
Start of the year IKEA trips have become a staple of my university experience (and a lot of other students’) so join me on this journey through my IKEA shopping trips over the years!
My parents helped me move from France to England in my first year. Since we were flying over, there was actually very little we could bring along with us. And yes, university accommodations usually have the bare minimum of furniture and things that you might need, but there is still a lot left to bring in. Most importantly, I arrived with no cutlery, pots, pans, or any other cooking utensils, so those were a few of the things I urgently needed!
So, Year 1 trip to IKEA was purposeful (and possibly the most stressful out of all three years). There was a list with items to be crossed off involved, and a limited time period within which to do our shopping. My parents had taken three days off work to help me out with settling in, which, when you’re going to be living away from home for the first time, goes by pretty fast. Other things to figure out included: setting up a bank account in the UK, getting a new phone number, ensuring that I was (more or less) able to find my way around campus…
The purchases made were very practical: kitchen essentials, an desk lamp, hangers, and more. By the time we got back to Whitefields, where I stayed in my first year, my parents were reassured that I had all the essentials necessary to survive my first year, and my room already felt a little more like my own.
Starting Second Year meant leaving campus to live in Coventry in an actual house. This trip to IKEA didn’t have the panicked feelings of “I decided to go study in another country where I don’t know anyone or anything, and I’m just now realizing that I’m going to have to live independently for the first time” that the first one did, so it was a little more relaxed! 🙂
It was more about making my new room feel comfortable, rather than worrying about practical things. My room in first year wasn’t tiny, but it was still a university room with little space for anything that didn’t have some purpose. Most Warwick-managed off-campus accommodations have ¾ or double-beds while on campus rooms are usually single, meaning that there was an opportunity for me to drastically increase the amount of pillows on my bed! I also got a tiny bedside table since it wasn’t provided, and (gasp!) a second lamp! More cupboard space in the kitchen meant that I could get a new pan (the old one was large enough to fry a single egg and little else) which was great.
My house was close to IKEA so the trip also served as a little journey through Coventry. It allowed me to situate where I lived better, and helped me feel more comfortable about no longer living 2 minutes away from Rootes Grocery Store on campus!
This IKEA trip was very much not necessary, and between first and second year, I already had everything I needed in my house for the year. But I also really wanted a fake plastic plant for my room (plastic because my plants from previous years tragically died when I went home for Christmas or Spring break). In the end though, I completely failed to stick to my plan, so there are now two small cacti in my room. Hopefully they will succeed where the other plants have not!
It was all really more about the tradition of going IKEA at least once over the first week than anything, and I went with my flatmates, so it was just very fun and relaxed 🙂
This year’s return to Warwick overall has just been great! This is partly because there isn’t a lot left for me to get used to, culture shock and living independently having been taken care of over first year, and I’m living in the same house as last year so my surroundings are familiar too. It’s also partly because I’m very aware that this is my last first week at Warwick, which feels so strange! The past two years have gone by so fast, and I’ve loved them so much, so it’s bittersweet to realize that my time at Warwick is slowly ending (and that this might be one of my last few trips to IKEA in Coventry).
But really the point of this blog was just to say, 1) Never underestimate the power of an IKEA trip, and 2) Coming back to uni gets a lot more fun over the years, and a lot less stressful!
Feel free to ask me any questions you might have! 🙂