Transforming your uni room into a great study/living space
We’ll all likely be spending a lot more time at home this term, which can be a daunting prospect for some, especially those of us who are more social or prefer studying in public places.
Without distinction between our place of work and our place of relaxation, it can be hard to have that healthy separation in our lives. How then can we replicate our usual habits within the home, be it a flat, house or studio?
Student rooms typically are designed around studying, with a desk and chair included within the room. However it can be tempting to move from working at the desk to working in bed, which is typically less productive.
I for one have always struggled studying at home, but I’m getting used to it. I’m fortunate in that I have a large attic room this year that helps to prevent me from feeling too confined. However I have had smaller rooms in the past and have faced the associated challenges of a small study space.
Here are a number of potential things you can do to combat the issue of a less than ideal study space:
Firstly, making your bed in the morning helps to create a sense of your day beginning, and places a barrier there to make it harder for you to just jump under the covers whenever you feel like it.
Secondly, it can be tempting to get into bed if you’re cold at your desk, so invest in warm clothes, fluffy socks and jumpers, etc. But be careful not to become too comfy or else you’re likely to become lethargic. For me, whenever I study on campus there’s always something slightly uncomfortable, be it that my clothes are itchy or there’s someone talking a few desks over. This isn’t a bad thing, and prevents me from getting too tired. Even wearing jeans instead of joggers while studying at home can create a sense that you’re supposed to be doing something productive.
I would also recommend good lighting. As winter approaches, the days get shorter and daylight is hard to come by. Make sure that you have bright enough lighting in your room to prevent you from straining your eyes to read. A simple desk lamp does the trick. But also consider other types of lighting for when you just want to chill. Fairy lights or a warm shaded lamp help to make a space feel more homely.
Many rooms in standard university accommodation are pretty plain too, so to help your room feel more homely and personal to you, invest in some decoration. This can range from posters to house plants to photographs. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, but make your room feel like you.
A comfy desk chair to work in is also a good idea for both your focus and your posture. During lockdown I wrote my summer exam assignments from a desk with no leg room, sitting at a fold-out metal chair that was over ten years old, had no padding and I suspect had cost £10 from a budget store, so it was a pretty rough time. I genuinely hope your accommodation provides you with a better chair than this, but even so, adding a cushion makes a world of difference to an otherwise unforgiving chair.
I’d also recommend working in other parts of your flat or house. You don’t always have to stay in your room. I often go and study in my kitchen, either alone or in the company of my housemates. You can hold one another accountable for procrastinating. Or it’s simply a way of removing yourself from your usual distractions. Leave your phone in your room for example.
And finally on the topic of phones, I use an app called Forest to help reduce the time I spend using my phone procrastinating. If you leave the app during a designated time period then it kills an imaginary virtual tree, and if you succeed at staying off your phone for that time, it plants one. There’s some simple part of me that finds it satisfying to grow an immaterial forest, so I’ve found it quite effective.