A Survival Guide to Halls Featured

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With hindsight, a student may look back on their University years and wish they had been given a few words of advice before taking that life-changing lunge into independence. The first and foremost part of this shift away from home-life is the strange and inimitable halfway house between youth and adulthood that is the halls of residence. For this unique experience it is vital to remember a few important essentials, both in the physical form of helpful equipment, and the metaphysical form of mental preparation.

Being randomly thrust into a flat with a bunch of people that are, for lack of a better word, complete strangers is both exciting and incredibly daunting. Whilst being the perfect gateway into meeting new people to embark on an undeniably exciting journey with, it can also leave first year students feeling a little shell-shocked. Will they like me? Will I like them? Will there be a complete and utter loon with a fetish for late-night nudity and poor personal hygiene? To handle this nerve-racking experience with a distinguished sense of cool it is important to take more than just bare living essentials to the new pad. One may not need one’s extensive DVD collection, old artwork, or photograph’s from Mexico, but it’s the little details that set one in good stead for surviving that first week in halls. Being armed with personal things not only brings a little piece of home into an unfamiliar place, it also acts as a great conversation starter.

This leads to the next aspect of The Big Move, which can either be as excruciatingly embarrassing as your Dad’s disco dancing, or an absolute barrel o’ laughs: getting to know your new roomies. The key thing to remember here is to keep an open mind. Before University, life can often be pretty clique-tastic; the people who like heavy rock don’t like those who are into trance, people who like indie are really quite scathing about the dreaded “mainstreamers”. But upon moving into halls that kind of social snobbery goes out of the window; to be open to suggestion and respect others’ tastes can only make relationships easier to form.

Now for the more practical matters. There is no doubt that halls, on a general scale, are downright dirty. Take rubber gloves: useful for fishing your favourite mug out of that thing that used to resemble a sink. Secondly, take roughly a gazillion glasses on the basis that (I’m sure there will be statistics to support this somewhere) around one breaks every minute. And of course, one thing that is often learnt too late: stock up the kitchen cupboards with items from a proper supermarket. As tempting as it is to keep topping up from the corner shop, one soon learns that this is a sure way to drain finances faster than beer from a beer bong. Moving on from kitchen essentials to memory aids, one strongly recommended item to take is a camera. It doesn’t have to be fancy; a couple of disposables (yes, they still make them) will do the trick. Either way, what is certain is that students will want to capture that first week of hectic fun on permanent record. Unforgettable it may be, but a few visual aids always help to relive the unbeatable excitement of the whole messy affair.

Most importantly, first years should take a relaxed attitude: there is a solid guarantee that moving into halls will be great fun and most probably introduce new students to some of their life-long friends. Don’t forget, this is not like when the ‘rents go on their summer holiday for a week: this free house lasts forever. 

India Johnson

I have a degree in English from Leeds Uni and love to write. I like music, pretty words, films (especially French films) and books (especially American lit).

Website: https://plus.google.com/u/0/106033435697881711131?rel=author

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