Six things you have to do to make the most of Halls.
Six things you have to do to make the most of Halls.
By Simon Thompson
By Ryan Maguire. Often universities may attempt to group flatmates in halls together in relation to course studied, gender or age but ultimately which flatmates you are grouped with is randomised. Many students may have whimsical images of what delights halls may inspire but after the initial euphoria of freshers’ week and the blasé attitude adopted towards any serious proceedings during the following weeks, the reality of living with an unknown set of people with the pressure of an academic course will begin to take effect. Halls can be one of the most memorable periods of your life and here are some tips to help ensure you maximise your time there, whilst facing difficulties and seizing opportunities.
1. Make friends with people beyond your own flatmates:
During freshers’ week you will have met your flatmates and at times things may have become too intimate or you may not have connected with everyone. These friendships will take their course and will develop naturally over the following weeks and months. With this foundation now set, this early period should be used to broaden your horizons, not only to other flats but also other halls. The number of new people you will meet is directly proportional to your level of assertiveness in being sociable in your immediate surroundings. Many see halls as a base for romantic liaisons and who would deny young love? Aim for quality over quantity however.
2. Maintain healthy independence:
Halls is not only the time when you will be surrounded by the highest concentration of fellow students but it is when your course will have the least pressure as you will be in first year. Use this time to pursue your personal goals and spend time joining societies, regardless of what your flatmates are doing. Don’t be apprehensive about saying no to a flat night out. This may also be a good time to get a part-time job which could serve you for your entire time at university. Use the library to study and your halls as a personal and social haven.
3. Sharing facilities:
You will be sharing the kitchen, including the fridge, and the showering and bathroom facilities with your flatmates. People may help themselves to your groceries. Avoid this by using clear labels with your name, designating an area of the fridge to each flatmate and only keeping food in there that you are currently using or need. Regarding cleanliness in the kitchen and showers, people may have different standards, especially if they have other priorities, but agreeing to a set of rules is a good way of establishing order. Each flatmate cleaning their dishes and then having a rota for general cleaning is an effective system.
4. Make your environment homely:
Most students will be living away from home for the first time and how you settle in when you first arrive is very important in establishing a good level of wellbeing which will propel you throughout your studies. Your room will be the literal space which your mind has to occupy for the academic year, so be sure to brighten up and furnish this space. Many people enjoy having things to remind them of home and the simple factors such as regularly washing your bedclothes can make a difference.
5. Find flatmates for second year:
Try to be a good judge of character whilst not casting people aside unnecessarily. In your own flat, there may be occasional disagreements but this is simply part of the process and should not be dwelled upon. Use such experiences to allow you to shrewdly find and select flatmates for second year. Begin this process as early as you feel comfortable to do so. Begin your search in your immediate environment and then venture to pastures new if this doesn’t yield results. Search within your course, your own flatmates and other flats in your halls and beyond. You cannot suit everyone and you have months to make this decision but serious consideration should begin no later than the beginning of second term after Christmas.
6. Take stock of your progress:
After freshers’ week and the numerous group activities in which you will take part during the opening weeks, it may be easy to simply get swept along with the tide. This is fine at times but it should be recommended that you occasionally step aside and question whether you are achieving your personal goals. If you have gone astray slightly, a subtle shift to the left should get you back on track. Maintaining an individual purpose is vital against the backdrop of an environment where multiple forces will consistently be competing to pull you in a number of different directions. Stay focused and you will naturally enjoy the moments suited to you.
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