My 6 top tips for living in halls
Planning on living in halls next year? Maybe you already do and are thinking about returning? Either way, this article is for you.
Hey, my name is Veva, and I’ve lived in halls for all three years of my course. Throughout these years, I’ve seen it all, so I’ve gathered my top tips to enjoy your stay, as well as make friendships and connections with other students.
Who knows, these tips may help you feel so at home that you start to walk around the accommodation in just your socks (not a personal experience, by the way…).
This my group of friends at the Costume Store. We do so many things together like studying, pizza and games nights or just hang out.
1. Create a communication channel with your flatmates
When you live in halls, it is most likely that you will live in a shared flat, with communal spaces such as a kitchen and a living room.
At the start of every year, I’ve left a little note in the kitchen introducing myself and giving everyone my phone number, so I could create a group chat (I usually do it on WhatsApp, but you can choose whatever social media works best for you). It is most likely that everyone will be too shy to introduce themselves to new people, so by doing this small gesture, it is easier for everyone to start knowing each other. It also helps quite a lot to organise things like cleaning schedules or to just ask someone to open the door if you forget your keys (speaking from too much personal experience).
(At this point, this is a saved message on my notes)
2. Be friendly with your flatmates
There is no need to be best of friends with your flatmates, as long as you’re friendly. A “hello” when you see them or a nice little chat when you’re cooking, or just in the kitchen and communal area does wonders. Not only do you get to meet people you probably wouldn’t otherwise, but you start creating connections within uni. Chances are that your flatmates won’t be on the same course as you, but they might be on a course you will later need to collaborate with.
You may also get to discover that your flatmates will have many different talents outside their course of study. One of my flatmates, for example
, does stick & poke tattoos. She’s really talented and I’ve got 4 new tattoos thanks to her!
If you want to get to know them better or just create a good vibe, my own personal suggestion is to do a movie/games night. Everyone chips in a bit of money towards food (pizza is very popular) and you just chat or watch a movie together. It creates a nice environment within the flat and makes it easier to live with new people.
At the beginning of my second year, me and my flatmates had a pizza night, which ended up going for quite a while after the movie ended as we were enjoying talking and getting to know each other.
3. Participate in the events going on in your hall
Okay, I’m going to sound biased here, but going to the Social Programme’s events in my hall really did help me meet new people and make new friends, especially when I first moved here. As an international student, I knew absolutely no one. It was really scary as I thought I wouldn’t be able to make friends at all. However, I started joining the movie nights and slowly began to meet new people.
As a Halls Rep, I have also made friends with the people in my hall that attend the events. It’s so fun to be friends with people that come and participate in all the different events, especially our regulars. Often, we end up talking about whatever goes on in our lives and we hang out quite a lot outside the events.
If you’re unsure about joining an event, you can always count on your Halls Rep. We know how it’s like to be somewhere we don’t know, and we will make sure you are never alone!
We make the events our own. In this picture, we had decided to play Jenga at Free Food Sunday.
4. Know your laundry days
Nothing is worse than being on your last t-shirt and going down to the laundry room to find out all washers and dryers are full! This is why it’s so important for you to do your laundry at the right time.
Friday evenings and weekends are usually the busiest days. Unless you’re really lucky (or desperate), I personally avoid those days. You won’t have classes every day, so my best advice is to do your laundry during the week. Make sure to do it before 7pm though, or you won’t have machines.
I usually do my laundry twice a week, and it’s usually around 1pm. Set a timer on your phone and don’t leave your clothes in the machines after they’re done for too long.
5. Make your room your own
Being away from home is hard on everyone. We all have things that make us feel closer to home, such as teddies, pictures or just little trinkets. These past few years, I’ve seen many different rooms from my friends and it’s always so interesting to see them. Even though the structure of the room is always the same, each room looks so different and feels like a little home away from home to each person.
Buy things that make you happy. Buy bed sheets that make you smile when you look at them, get your favourite pictures of you and your friends/family printed, bring your favourite little things from your room at home. Don’t be afraid to use the space available.
My room is my own little personal space and I have filled it with things that make me happy. My shelves are filled with my K-Pop albums and merch, as well as books, my two favourite things in the world.
And my board is filled with my favourite pictures with my friends and family, pins, medals and scarves from my favourite sports teams.
6. Be nice to your hall staff
I found this tip to be extremely helpful. I have always been friendly to the staff at my accommodation, especially the night staff. As well as making you feel safe, they are there to help you with whatever you need and will help you find your feet.
So here they are - my top tips to live in halls. Of course, everyone has a different experience, but mine has always been a good one, even during the pandemic. It’s the little details that make a difference, the personal touches you add to your home, the friends you make, and the activities you take part in. Don’t forget everyone’s in the same situation as you. We’re all away from home and living on our own for the first time (for most of us anyways). Don’t be afraid to strike up a quick conversation in the lift or the smoking area, you’ll find that people are usually nice and up for a chat.
And don’t forget that if you’re ever struggling, you can always talk to your Reps or Halls Manager – they’ll know how to help!
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