Looking back on move-in day of freshman year, I remember it all vividly: the organized chaos that is the check-in process, renting a cart, waiting in line for 15 minutes just to get into an elevator, seeing my dorm room for the first time and meeting my roommate. It was one of the more hectic days I’d experienced at the time, but it was also filled with nervous excitement as I met my first friends and started my first year of college.

I’m a sophomore now and I worked and lived at Boston University this summer as well, so I’ve gotten the whole packing/unpacking process down to a science. What’s a little harder than designing my room is saying goodbye to all of my loved ones as the school year begins again. Regardless of your academic standing, the shoeboxes — er, dorm rooms — that we live in always feel strange at first, but with time, we become acclimated to them and create our own homey little corners at BU. Here are some ideas for how to make your dorm room feel a little more like home so you can feel a little less homesick.

Putting up pictures from home is an easy way to make a dorm room feel homey. PHOTO COURTESY FLICKR USER ALI EDWARDS

Putting up pictures from home is an easy way to make a dorm room feel homey. PHOTO COURTESY FLICKR USER ALI EDWARDS

Photo collages

Go through all of your favorite memories from the past year or two and find the pictures in which you felt happiest, whether it’s a shot of your all-time favorite band in concert, meeting your best friends for the first time, or goofy Snapchats of your friends in face masks. Pick your favorites and print them out however you’d like; you can go to your local CVS and finish the project in an hour, use a website to make them aesthetically pleasing, or turn them into Polaroids. Organize them in a way that feels right to you and tape them on your wall, frame them for your desk, or tack them onto cork boards — so whenever you’re feeling down you can look back on these feel-good memories and smile again.

DIY state/country crafts

If you’re proud of where you’re from (shout out to my New Jersey friends out there), then you can find all sorts of ways to integrate that into your dorm decor. I’ve seen a project all over Pinterest that just involves a small cork board, a few pins and some string: create an outline of your state (or country) and wrap the string around the outline and criss-cross it through the interior to fill it in, and then cut out a small heart from construction paper and paste it on the string in the area where your hometown is. Whether you’re from 30 miles away or 3,000, you can always keep a little bit of home with you.

City maps

If you’re from a big city, live near one or have a favorite in mind, then buy a detailed map and hang it smack-dab in the middle of your wall. And if an artsy mood strikes you, you can totally personalize it: paint over it with a thin layer of watercolors to give it a certain aesthetic, put pins or stickers on your favorite parts of the city, such as restaurant locations, parks or addresses where your friends and family live to remember the good times. If the map is large enough even paste some photos on locations where you have amazing memories.

Photo journals

Many websites offer customizable photography services — and one of those options is a photo journal where you can turn all your favorite memories into a book that you can put on display in your dorm and look through whenever the mood hits! If you’re really crafty, then you can go all-out and make your own scrapbook from scratch. It’s just another way to look back on the incredible people you get to call your friends and remind yourself how lucky you are to have them in your life, even if they’re many miles away.

Create your perfect room

Your shoebox is where you’ll be living for the next nine months, so make it your own! Become your own interior designer and create a space that you’ll be happy to come home to after a long day of class. The more personalized your dorm room is, the more it’ll feel like home — because that’s essentially what it is for the school year. So be bold and be you, and let your true self shine in your room so you can be proud to call it home.

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