Updated: 2 days ago
My Personal Advice For Students Moving into University Halls
written by a 1st year student
Moving into University Halls was a huge adventure for me as it was my first time living away from home, but also moving abroad! So in addition to starting a new chapter in my life, I faced the challenge of living in a foreign country, with a different culture and customs, sharing a space with complete strangers, and adjusting to a new environment.
I will always remember my first day arriving on campus, and seeing the imposing stone wall at the entrance displaying the “University of Bath” sign. I had a lump in my throat, my heart was racing, and my mind went into overdrive.
Had I forgotten to pack anything important?
Was I going to get along with my new flat mates?
How would I cope once my parents left?
To give you a head start, make this process less daunting for you, and help you enjoy the experience of your first day in Uni Halls, follow my tips below for the essential do’s and don’ts of moving into university halls, which will help you navigate the process easily.
DO Pack Your Suitcases Efficiently Before You Leave
Before you leave home, organise your belongings together into categories (like clothes, desk stuff, shoes, etc.). For example, pack all your bathroom items together like your toiletries, towel, slides, washbag, hairdryer, etc.
This will make it so much easier to unpack efficiently, and organise your room quickly when you move in.
Take some lightweight plastic hangers with you, as you may not have any supplied in the hanging space.
To help you with the packing process, check out the book: "From High School to Uni" for step-by-step guidance on what to bring, what to buy once on-site, and what to leave behind.
It's a comprehensive guide on how to prepare for university life and covers each phase of preparing to move, packing the right things and what NOT to pack, and then life on campus. So, if you haven’t ordered a copy yet, stop what you’re doing right now and get a copy from the SHOP section of this website!
DO Unpack Your Room Straightaway
As soon as you have picked up your key or badge from the University admin office and checked out your flat, unpack completely. Hang your clothes up, put your shoes under the bed, t-shirts and undies on the shelves or in drawers. You will feel more settled and comfortable once you have your own space sorted.
As soon as your clothes and personal items are organised, make up your bed immediately. You won't want to do this before bedtime. This helps the room feel more comfortable and you can relax later if you're feeling a bit overwhelmed.
DON’T Lock Yourself In Your Room Whilst Unpacking
Keep your bedroom door open, this way you say hi to passersby and get a chance to talk with your new flat mates immediately. The sooner you start chatting, the sooner you will start to make friends. You may not like everyone, but you will have to live together for the next academic year, so be open, courteous and get to know them.
DON’T Drag Out The Goodbyes
It's normal to feel emotional when your parents leave (if they dropped you off). Your Mum may be crying her eyes out, like mine was, but don't let that stop you from enjoying your new independence!
Instead of isolating yourself in your room, embrace the challenge! Wedge your door open, say hi to your new flat mates, get out of your room, and go lend them a hand to help them settle in quickly. Then go for a walk to explore the campus and find your way around.
DO Be Friendly And Supportive
Getting to know your flat mates is important, particularly with anyone who may be having a hard time integrating with the rest of the group. Invite them to join you for an exploratory walk around the university to familiarize yourselves with the campus, or go have lunch or dinner all together in town.
The first day I arrived in my Uni Halls, a flat mate directly across from my room had locked herself in her room while the rest of us were getting to know each other. So I knocked on her door to introduce myself and after chatting we both found we had a lot in common.
Skip to today - we are inseparable and had a blast living together for the entire four years of university!
DON’T Isolate In Your Room
While it can be tempting after an emotionally heavy day to just curl up and watch Netflix by yourself, go out and get to know the people you will be living with for the first year of university. This is an exciting time - embrace the challenge!
DO Socialize With Your Flat Mates The First Night
Have a group dinner altogether on the first night in Uni Halls.
This is a great way to really integrate yourself into the flat dynamic, by all cooking together, vibing to the music and getting to know each other. If you haven't already decided on who gets which cupboards and fridge/freezer space, this is the time to do it. And establish kitchen rules, allergies or any other issues to respect your peers.
I shared a huge Mum-made lasagne (made by my Mum before she left!) with my flat mates on the first night, and after a few drinks, playing music and eating altogether, it was a great way to break the ice, start to get to know each other, and start our new living experience.
DON'T Avoid Conflict
You all have to live together fairly harmoniously so, to avoid any conflicts or misunderstandings, ask your flat mates about their sleeping schedules, (acceptable) noise levels, and cleaning routines.
Everyone needs to pull their weight and be respectful! Don't be afraid to voice your opinion respectfully.
DO Discuss Dietary Restrictions
Remember, some students may have different religions, habits, or allergies, so discuss early on with them about any dietary preferences or restrictions. If one of your flat mates has a potentially fatal nut allergy, it should be established quickly what the restrictions are in terms of cooking in the kitchen, and what to do in a medical emergency.
Overall, the best advice I would give you is to really try to get to know all your flat mates, as well as taking advantage of the networking opportunities during Freshers Week to get to know, and make friends with, a wide range of people. You may not like everyone, but you will more than likely develop some great friendships that could last a lifetime!
Milli, Joint BA Hons Etudes Européennes et Langues Modernes, 2022.
© 2022 FROM HIGH SCHOOL TO UNI LTD