It is that time of year again where students from far and wide have finally flown the nest to the new ventures of University living…
The children have left home to make their own roost at university. All of us, rooky adults, as it were, have to rear a sense of solace out of such a strange and challenging place – campus living. The first few weeks are met with an overwhelming feeling of no longer having a home to go to regroup, you have nowhere that you belong… but then, as time goes on, you are met with a peculiar and unfamiliar sense of unity: everyone around you is in this with you, together, and as a good friend of mine said to me today, “if anyone says that they aren’t finding this hard, then they are just lying!”
University is a place of polar extremes: it is both the toughest endurance challenge of your life, whilst also being ‘your best years’ carried by this ubiquitous sense of purpose. One savours every moment, good and bad – because nothing in life worth having comes easy, and as many a wise Grandparent has said ‘the day I stop learning is the day I die’. It is in this socially accepted paradoxical existence (separated from the real world to prepare you for what comes next: the real world) that delivers one to feel like you are occupying some separate ethereal realm.
There is often a huge misconception that all your University experience has to offer you is that horrendous cliché of ‘home economics’. However, that sort of social education is important only in concurrence with enduring the hardest challenge in your life, pursuing your grandest ambitions – that is, studying for your degree. A University education is the biggest intellectual and creative feat of ‘life-so-far’ and it is incredibly difficult to juggle your expectation of yourself and what you can achieve, and the reality of what is achievable in context to the juggling act of eating, sleeping, socialising, extracurricular and most significant – your education. University is life education: it teaches you to be self…– Just yourself.
Being responsible for your education is easy when everything else in your life is set – finances – a sense of home – knowing your surroundings – knowing what you don’t like – and choosing to spend time with those people you do like. But, in University, there is not this sense of security, no safety net, no home cooked meals waiting for you when you get in, and no food magically appearing in the fridge. To all you Undergraduate students living in Halls, it is an adjustment moving into such a condensed communal living space, but, that one little box of a bedroom (/study/sink) down the corridor, that is yours, and it is the backdrop, the starting point for you to begin to create a life of your own.
Your bedroom is your home, your dwelling place and your haven, so it seems only fitting to only ever do with it what you will. That small microcosm of privacy is your very own, it is sacred and special and preserved only for you. We lurk in the depths of this room, and bask in the glory of all that is you. It emanates that special charm of comfort that only a self-made seasoning of dust, that is your very own dead skin cells, can achieve.
The layers of chaos that are arranged on the surfaces of you lair transcends a mere expression of lewd physical disarray; instead it rather extends as a testimony of the symbiosis between ones messiness and creativity. A space that both contains within it and emits from it an individual’s ingenuity; a place that both records a mind and simultaneously inspires it; an infinite synergy of causation; a real life exhibit of the unique artistry of a single mind.
One thinks of their room, it is their nest, their coup, their checkpoint, their base, their one and only dwelling place. I love my bedroom, my hub, my motherboard of all that entails me… and no small part of that has to do with the territorial stamp that is the messy state I reside in. One thinks of their very own room to be their sanctuary. Like a zoo, ‘we see the students in this, their natural habitat’.
Your messiness is your marked territory, in every sensory way, from sight, scent, sound, to the feel and even taste. It is an eternal seal of honour, a signature, creating a gateway to your tastes and preferences: it is as though once a person has seen you room, they have a legitimate right to propose that ‘this’ “is very you”. Your messy room is like you trademark, and your palace, and your messiness is like the crude decoration of your active mind.
Ultimately your messiness is a stamp of where the line stands for one’s optimal living conditions; it is methodical and respectful to oneself. It is where efficiency meets chaos, and it works, you like arranging things into an organised mess to give a method to your madness, a pattern of your minds natural routine.
Your room is also a minefield: If someone invades your messy room then you will know. It undoes all you have done to keep it a memorised and familiar. There is logic in your chaos and it is a code that only the creator can execute. You can sense a foreign invasion when the elected obstacle course has a belonging out of place – the complicatedness makes it clear when someone has violated your masterpiece that is your beautifully dishevelled domicile.
It is more than just a myth that intelligent, creative, and efficient problem solving people function better in their own personal bomb sight – it is a physical map of their synaptic journey, of their thought processes – a real life 3 dimensional ‘brainstorm’ plotting their path from a. to b., from problem to solution, from conception to fruition. As Albert Einstein famously espoused, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?