University Advice: Halls8/24/2014 04:36:00 pm
|A messy room as I unpacked|
This time last year I was into my last month of living at home- I had started packing my room up and was preparing myself for the scary but exciting move. I thought that doing a few posts on University would help those of you who are getting ready to start next month, and give you a little bit of insight into some aspects of university. Of course this is my experience of university and everyone has different experiences, be it good or bad- so don't take this as what will definitely happen to you!
Choosing halls was a lot of fun for me- I made a list of positives and negatives of all the University Halls on offer and ranked them in order of how much I liked them. Its important to decide whether you want catered or self catered halls- if your university offers both. As with everything, there are positives and negatives to both options. I chose self catered halls; I wanted the independence of preparing my own meals and I wanted a proper flat, not just a room and a common area. While I did enjoy cooking for myself, I knew a lot of people who stayed in the catered halls in Edinburgh who loved just having to get up and go to a dinning room for all their meals. Its important to think about what you would like in the long run- whether you would be able to survive the whole year cooking for yourself, or if the timetable and layout of catered halls suits you more.
Flat mates. This one you don't have much say on, and you can either strike gold and be best friends with your flat mates, or you end up hating one another. That sounds scary, but it honestly doesn't matter if you hate each other, so long as they fine to live with. First off, decide whether you want to live in a mixed flat or single sex, but bare in mind that what you tick on the application may not be what you get. Over freshers week, it's important to make an effort with your flat mates- if you don't try then it will just cause resentment. Go into the living area of the flat often and just chat to the other people in your flat, that way you find out about them. Eat your meals in there- and not in your room like I often did- because then you can bond and talk even for a short period of time.
Of course, flat mates can be an absolute pain- I'm not going to sugar coat it. And in all honesty I didn't have a "perfect" flat- one of the girls played the Ukulele until the early hours of the morning. Noise is just a side effect of halls though, not everyone has the same timetable or sleeping patterns as you so you have to expect some noise even if it bugs you a little. BUT there is a time that the noise should stop, if you have an essay deadline or exam and you need your sleep don't be afraid or ashamed of contacting the campus security or the person that manages the halls. Honestly it happens a lot, and they have no way of knowing it was you. That being said, if there are parties going on in your halls, go along! Its great to know people in your building, even just so you recognise a face as you go around. Its going to make your time at halls a lot more enjoyable if there are people in the building that you can go along to and have fun with.
Food is an issue if you are in self catered halls, and my advice would be to keep a box under your bed with tinned food, cereals and MOST importantly all chocolate/ sweets. Things can be pinched from cupboards in communal areas, even if its not a lot of food taken, its still the principal. I had a problem with one girl stealing food- my advice is to SAY something AS SOON as it starts. I waited a while before finally reaching breaking point and having "a flat chat" (when half of my ice cream was stolen.. I mean you have to say something about that!) so a fair chunk of food had been taken. So speak up if you notice bits and bobs being stolen!
As for your room, personalise it as much as you can! Pictures up on the walls, a cosy duvet cover and lots of home touches and things from your old room. This honestly helped me a lot with the homesickness. There's nothing worse than coming home after a long day to a bare and cold room. Make it as cosy and as comfortable as possible, or else you're not going to want to spend any time in it. I did this, and I actually really liked my room, despite its small size. I took a mini Christmas tree for December, over my birthday I put up all my birthday cards, and I took lots of pictures and put them in frames all over the room. It helps a lot.
|My cosy corner of my bed, complete with fairy lights|
I've probably scared anyone moving into halls with this! Honestly though, they are a lot of fun- its one of the best ways to meet new people. Even if you don't get on with your flat mates, just invite yourself along to other people's flats or hang out in the common area. Its a whole bunch on 18-20 somethings who are there to have fun, so there will be no shortage of parties, or places to pre drink before going to the clubs. On the other hand, if that isn't your "scene" then I can guarantee that you will find others who are into the same sort of thing as you. Halls do not depend AT ALL on how much money you spend a month on it, ultimately everyone in that accommodation are there for the same reason- to go to university. So don't worry if you haven't got a large double bed or an ensuite with your room. I didn't have either, and I still got on perfectly fine. It's up to you, and what you think you'll be happiest in. And look at it this year- it's not even a year that you'll be there for, so if you don't like it then just think of what you can move into in 2nd year.
University is what you make it, so try and enjoy it!
So that's all my advice for the University Halls! I've got a few more posts in line with advice on university- but if you're a fresher, then feel free to comment with questions and I'll make sure I answer them. Or if you've been through first year, like me, or the whole of university and have any advice then add it in the comments! I would have loved some guidance before university, so that I knew what to expect and it wouldn't have been such a shock, so hopefully this will be of help to at least one first year.
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