So, you’ve got your offers through to start university in the autumn, and made your firm and insurance choices – it’s all starting to become real!
One of the important things you need to start to think about is where you’re going to live.
For most freshers, university halls will probably be your home for your first year (or possibly longer, depending on your circumstances).
These are university-owned accommodation, which you pay rent for, and may include your meals, or other “extras”.
But although you will almost certainly get a room to yourself, it’s likely this will be in a shared apartment or floor, where you get to share facilities such as bathrooms, kitchens and living space with other students.
With this in mind, and some time before you move in, it’s worth making a rudimentary budget, making a checklist of things you need (or would like) to take, perhaps practicing some easy meals at home, even checking whether you’ll need a TV licence.
By looking into the admin side of moving away from home before you actually leave, can help you to feel more prepared, confident and help you to make a flying start to your studies.
Sharing accommodation with other students, who you will more than likely have never met before, can seem a little overwhelming – who will they be, will we get on etc. are often in the forefront of many freshers’ minds, but in all honesty, after the first few days, these worries usually turn out to be for nothing.
When you move in it’s a really good idea to leave your door open so other new students can say hello, but also be mindful that it’s a busy, stressful day and your housemates might need some space also – it’s not a great time to discuss cleaning rotas, so be friendly and approachable, and keep the conversation light!
On a more serious note, it’s also worth photographing the space/s you are responsible for, to prove the condition of them when you moved in, alongside making a careful check of the inventory if you have one.
You should report any discrepancies as soon as possible, and certainly with 24 hours of moving in - this can help you to avoid being charged for any damage or losses that you didn’t cause.
Don’t worry too much about missing out on friendships if you don’t move in as soon as you are allowed to, but be mindful of making new friendships – be a social butterfly, and don’t feel that you have to only stick to the first few people you meet. There are many other students out there you could make friends with.
Aside from the other students in your shared accommodation, it’s also worth introducing yourself to adjacent flats or university accommodation.
It’s also worth noting that there will be tons of events, meeting and gatherings scheduled for fresher’s week, so there will be plenty of opportunity to meet other students with similar interests to your own, so if you find that your housemates don’t have similar interests to your own, don’t panic!
The first few weeks at university, through freshers’ week and beyond, really form the foundations of doing well in your studies, so if you find that your unhappy or unsure about something to do with your accommodation (or those you live with), it’s always best to ask for help.
Your university accommodation/estates office if probably your first stop, but student services, or your tutor are also great sources of advice and help, especially with interpersonal issues, that might occur with the other students you live with.
Some simple ideas to help with living harmoniously in halls include:
- Earplugs can help with noise, but be mindful of the noise you make too! No-one likes being woken up at 4am when you have lectures early that morning!
- A flat WhatsApp group can help with communication
- Try to be a considerate neighbour – so make sure you tidy up after yourself, be respectful of others belongings, food etc.
- Help where you can – so if it means a carb-fest for your housemates’ hangover, or sharing info on freshers events, every little helps!
- Discuss early on what the plans are for food shopping etc – Very often, its easier and cheaper to buy in bulk, but this might not suit everyone’s budget/plans. It also helps with building positive relationships with those you live with.
For more tips and advice on liviing in student halls and getting through Freshers' Week, please see: