By the Features Team
The essential object on my university desk is a diffuser. Whether I use the peppermint essential oil or the de-stress blend, the heavenly smells always make studying a more enjoyable experience. If anyone on a Zoom seminar with me hears a whirring hum or sees puffs of vapour, it’s the diffuser!
This year has seen our bedrooms become our lecture halls and seminar rooms. It can be easy to feel trapped or suffocated when the most exciting outing you have is going to Tesco. Making your study space homely and motivating is now more important than ever.
Knowing how you work is really important. It’s really hard to be motivated when you’re not leaving your house to work, so think about how you work best and how your study space can accommodate that. For me, I like breaking work into small chunks, so my to-do list is a pretty permanent feature on my desk. Most of the time it’s filled with small things, like calling home or sending that email I’ve been forgetting to send for the last week, but seeing them on my desk listed out always makes them feel easier to tackle.
Another tip is to make you study space as personal as you can. On my desk I have a picture of my dog, a couple of adorable small animal toys and my radio. My personal favourites are the artwork I got for my birthday and the fairy lights (from Ikea, obviously). Some people find it so much harder to work at home, and sadly a nice study space probably won’t magically transform you into the organised student you’ve always wanted to be, but it definitely helps. When you’ve got some aesthetic fairy lights draped stylishly over your desk, what can go wrong?
I’m a self-confessed stationery addict; I’m that girl with all the aesthetically pleasing pens that you see on the Instagrams of people who you probably believe to be more productive than you. Except, I’m also the definition of “all the gear and no idea”. This is why this year I’ve decided to actually implement productive study habits, and key to this has been creating the perfect workspace.
Prior to this redesign, my desk was covered in the disregarded relics of my university bedroom. Deciding to stay at home for my second year, I knew I needed to make this space into somewhat of a haven in my hectic household. My main way of doing this was eradicating my desk of clutter, turning it into a clean and simple workspace with plenty of room for all the essential study supplies like my laptop, books and notes. Now, I no longer feel crammed into a tiny space, instead there’s enough room for me to spread out and be comfortable which is definitely key when you’re faced with spending a whole day at that desk.
Another key to my organisation was hanging an IKEA pegboard above my desk. I had always admired how organised these looked in the in-store sets and decided to replicate one at home. I also hung a mini rail underneath with some pots for all of my beloved stationery. Having all of the things I could possibly need like pens, post-it notes, paper clips at hand means that I no longer have an excuse to wander off in search of what I need – which is definitely ideal for Zoom lessons! For me, a new workspace will hopefully help me get this very unusual
year off to a good start.
One thing has always been true: I hate desks. During my two years at university, I have thrice used the desk in my room. Normally at uni, the key feature of my daily study is that I actually have to physically move. Even if I am at Billy B, a cafe or a friend’s house or just outside, I work better. Unfortunately, not an option during these times of covid.
When my dad reminded me it was time to set up for the new academic year, I began my search about the house for a comfortable spot to spend my day and night, without feeling like I was at home all day. My solution; I was going to convert my old attic hangout room into my new office. There was one issue (or so I thought). There were only a couple sofas, a pouf, and a coffee table up there.
With a bit of adjusting, success finally hit when I decided to sit on the poof next to the coffee table. And thus began the set up. I bought some extension cables, re-stocked on my jasmine pearl tea, grabbed my watercolours and my wireless keyboard and set up my coffee table as the perfect work zone.
Within arm’s reach I can make tea, paint, write notes and type up articles and essays. From the ground, the light from the windows hits just right, allowing a warm glow to encompass the table. When night hits, I light my candles and enjoy the ambience their scents bring. But really what makes the spot so perfect is how much better my posture has become since sitting on the floor. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to comfortably work in a chair now.