Virginia Woolf once said that one needed a room of their own if they were to succeed in writing. While I agree, I also think that her statement can encompass so much more. Come on, we all need our space, right?
However, an entire room to someone might be a bit of a long shot. You might have siblings, roommates, or that one friend who is in your room more than you are. It’s still important to have a space of your own — an area just for you to unwind, to read a book, to play video games, or to eat a plate of cheese for all I care, just as long as the space belongs to you. With school now upon us, finding and maintaining one’s own place becomes all the more important.
I grew up as an only child, so I wasn’t used to the concept of sharing space until college came around and I found myself living with a friend in a closet-sized bedroom, intimidating and tiny. As we unpacked, our things started to overlap. It was then that I vowed to make at least something belong solely to me.
That place turned out to be my desk. A simple thing, really: a table with added on drawers and shelves, or even a hutch if you’re really fancy. I knew I was going to be spending a lot of my time at that desk, so I at least wanted it to reflect me.
Pick somewhere you are comfortable: a specific corner of the room that you can decorate with throw pillows and rugs, your bed, anywhere is possible. One of my friends even used the school’s greenhouse as her place.
Cover it in everything that reflects you. My freshman year, my desk had all of my favorite books, a candle of my favorite scent (that I wasn’t technically allowed to light), and pictures of friends and family whom I was missing.
My roommate surrounded her space in twinkling Christmas lights because the soft glow made her more comfortable. Leave no corner or wall untouched. I used to cover the wall near my desk with corkboards of my favorite things. Get together with friends and make a tradition of updating your board each year. Cover it in your favorite quotes, pictures, and personal drawings. Someone I knew turned their corkboard into a collage of things that they had accomplished and that they hoped to accomplish each month — a bucket list of sorts.
Okay, you’ve pulled out all the stops, and your space is decorated as you see fit; but, in order for this magic to work, you have to utilize it. Whenever I needed to de-stress, I would go straight to my spot, pop in my headphones, and listen to my favorite music while reading from one of my favorite books. It became therapeutic.
My sophomore year of college, I roomed with two girls: one a friend and the other one randomly selected. My spot became crucial as it became increasingly clear that we were not compatible roommates. I angled my desk as far away from her space as possible, backed up into my own little corner of the room, and thanked the universe that I was surrounded by all of my favorite things. I took a deep breath whenever we started to argue, inhaling my favorite candle and looking around at all of the calming pictures I’d put up. My spot was secure. She moved out eventually, but my spot stayed exactly the same.