Ah, halls of residence. These can either be the best and worst parts of your university experience: there seems to be no middle ground.
The problem with halls is that they can be totally unpredictable. You could end up in fun, clean halls with people you get on with; or disgusting, boring halls with other students who have no conception of housework, noise pollution, or personal hygiene.
Whichever way your halls of residence experience goes, here’s a guide to make your life in halls that much easier, and to make sure you come out on the other side in one piece (and with some friends as well!)
1. Actually do your clearing up
Many, many students seem to fall down at the first hurdle here. It’s a bit different in a shared house in second or third year when the work kicks in, everyone has busy schedules and there is a bit more leeway about washing up immediately, but with halls of residence, this leeway does not exist.
You’re living with a load of strangers who are just getting to know one another: do you really want to be known as the one who is too inconsiderate to clear up after themselves? Not the best way to make friends.
2. Try not to keep everyone up
Yes, you’ve come to university to try out new things, but that doesn’t mean it’s socially acceptable to keep your neighbours up with either: a) your new bongo drumming hobby b) your tinder date.
The walls in halls of residence are notoriously thin: you’ll want to get yourself some earplugs, because you will be kept up by someone in your corridor at some point.
3. Make some friends and be sociable
Now that we’ve covered the boring stuff, this is really important. Halls of residence can be an amazing opportunity to get to know loads of new people quickly, and even to find your future housemates for second year.
If you put yourself out there, you’ll have a much better year at the end of it. You could organise for everyone to cook for each other – Halls Come Dine with Me or Bake Off – and nights out with other corridors. It doesn’t matter how you socialise, but if you hermit in your room for a year, you won’t have a good time in halls.
4. Pranks will happen
Some people take pranks well, some people hate them, but they are part and parcel of living in halls of residence. Whether it’s the classic ‘wrapping everything in your room in tin foil, the gruesome ‘putting clingfilm on the toilet’ (gross!), or the downright evil prank of putting fake election posters up of your flatmate around campus, there is a prank to suit everyone.
Basically, be prepared for this to happen, and try not to get worked up about it. You can always get your flatmate back with your own evil prank. For more pranking ideas, check out our article on the top ten pranks to play on your housemates.
5. Don’t worry if you don’t meet your best mates
Even if you follow my advice, there is a chance that you just might not click with the people you live with in halls. That’s okay too: it’s completely down to chance, and it’s not worth worrying about, as you will find people to live with in second year who you do gel with.
So enjoy your experience in halls as best you can – it’ll be over before you know it!