Top Tips For Surviving Halls
Moving into halls of residence may seem really nerve-wracking. Even though you’ve heard many stories about it, not every experience is the same so you’re still not sure what to expect. This is very much how I felt when I moved into halls in my first year of university. I sat squashed in the back seat of my dad’s car with a cramp in my legs from all the bags and boxes by my feet.
Living in halls is a great way to meet new people from different cultural backgrounds (depending on the diversity in your university). You are surrounded by dozens of lively young adults with no parents nagging you all the time. However, with every new beginning, there are new challenges. Here are some top tips to help you survive your year in halls.
1. Don't hide away
Diving head first into a giant social pool may seem intimidating at first, especially if you are a shy and introverted person. You may panic about what people might think of you and whether you would get on with your flatmates. How will you be able to form the tight bonds you have with your mates back at home with new people?
Even if you lack confidence, you should make an effort to speak to your flatmates and other residents. You could meet others outside of your flat that you will get along with. It is normal to feel uncomfortable introducing yourself at first. But, as time goes on you will get to know each other better and you’ll start to feel more at home. You may even end up sharing milk.
2. Watch the cash-loss
Rent takes a huge chunk of your student loan and on top of that, you need to pay for food, laundry, travel and other expenses so it is important to watch your money. Budgeting your money is essential in ensuring that you can keep up with your rent payments and everything else.
Saving money is manageable by doing little things to limit your spending, such as:
· Buying cheaper options of expensive brands e.g. Aldi/Lidl (if you don’t have an Aldi or Lidl near you then that’s a shame, you’re missing out.)
· Save laundry money by handwashing à Obviously not your whole laundry basket, but small things you wear regularly like underwear.
· Planning your meals à One of my friends found it helpful to plan their meals so that they only bought what was necessary.
· Savings account à having your whole loan in one account may make it feel like you have more money to spend than you actually have. Putting aside the money you need for rent in a different account can help you see how much money you have left over clearly so you can budget wisely and ensure you can afford to pay your rent but still have enough money for other expenses.
3. Communication is key
Every student hopes for good flatmates before they move in but not everyone is lucky enough to be graced with angels. You may get extremely messy flatmates, find yourself in heated arguments or end up tiptoeing around each other in a tense atmosphere.
If you are having difficulties with some of your flatmates, you shouldn’t suffer in silence. Don’t live in misery because that will just stress you out. But also, don’t go in guns blazing spitting spiteful words. No anonymous call-out tweets, no malicious notes on the notice board and no hateful bitching behind each other’s backs. If you have a problem with someone address them in a calm and civilised manner. Sure, it’s easier said than done if your stress levels are high and you’re completely fuming, but having a mature conversation is the best way to sort things out. It lets you know where you all stand and allows to work out how to solve the problem.
4. Report all problems
Halls for a lot of people is not a huge beautiful mansion, you just have a plain room with all the basics and a kitchen to cook your meals in which is not too bad. However, you are bound to experience some problems during your stay (and if you don’t then lucky you). A lot of my friends and I have dealt with weeks of no heating and days with no hot water.
If you experience any problems in your halls, make sure you let the staff at the main reception know so that they can fix the issue. If they fail to act, be persistent or even try someone higher up. After all, you are paying a lot of money to live there and it is their duty to provide you with high-quality accommodation. If anything isn’t up to scratch, make them know about it.
5. Have fun
Make the most of your experience and enjoy yourself. Interact with others, make friends and good memories. Do keep on top of your work but also have time to relax and socialise.