Moving into halls can be an exciting but pretty daunting experience. For a lot of you, it will be your first time moving away from home and into this new environment, and this was true for myself. Moving from my familiar hometown in Devon to university halls, I had absolutely no idea of what to expect. If you find yourself in a similar situation of taking the plunge to start university in the foreseeable future, here are some dos and don’ts which I hope will help to make you better equipped for your new journey:
DO get some house games
It’s important to have things you can do as a house together, especially with the current situation which may mean you’re spending more time in your flat when you start uni. In my first year, we all contributed to a Wii for the lounge and it was one of the best decisions we made. Playing games like Mario Kart is a classic and makes for a great way to come together with some healthy competition. It’s also a good way to involve some of your housemates that may be more on the quiet side. Having a board games night is also always a fun idea. You can take your pick from some classics like scrabble or monopoly, or some personal ones I’ve enjoyed:
- Exploding kittens – A simple but fun card game combined with loads of cats. I’m not sure what could be better!
- Exit – This is an escape room board game with a range of different scenarios depending on which version you buy – it’s a good one if you have a longer slot of time where you can all sit down and play together!
DON’T get used to closing yourself away in your room
Everything can all be a bit overwhelming at first – you’re getting used to your new living space as well as the new people you will be sharing with. Try not to worry though, everyone around you will be in the same boat and are probably just as eager to get to know you as you are to them. As much as it is important to have time by yourself, I found it to be really helpful to just spend time in the communal areas, whether that being by watching some TV in the living room or using the kitchen with others. It immediately puts you in an easier position to bump into your new housemates and to start some chats. I noticed that some people even had a doorstop when first moving in to encourage people to pop into their room and making the process of getting to know people that bit easier.
DO bring a pair of slippers
Slippers will be your new best friend. I had no idea how much I would come to rely on mine when first moving into halls. Realistically, your shared kitchen space is probably going to be a mess at times. The last thing you want is to be stepping through the kitchen for something to eat, and accidentally treading on a wide array of food leftovers. I also found this extremely useful when taking the bins out with my housemates, and just slipping a pair on to get it done quickly.
DON’T hope the bins will be taken out..at some point
Talking about bins, the bin situation is one that isn’t always the best at times! If you have a lot of people living with you, it’s no surprise that they will quickly fill up. One of the most crucial tips I can give is to put the bins out before they get extremely full. There were definitely a few times where they got so full and it was a massive task in itself to get it all sorted. Contrary to popular belief, the bins won’t walk themselves outside. Some people do rotas for this kind of thing, or what worked for us was just doing it as a house as there’s usually a lot of rubbish to go out.
DO keep in regular contact with family and friends from home
If you’re like me and get quite homesick, I found it extremely important to check in with friends and family. This ranged from a video call checking in with my family and updating them on all the bits I had done that day, to meeting up with my friends who moved to the same city as me. Just because you’re starting a completely new chapter in your life (which is extremely exciting), doesn’t mean you can no longer contact people who you are close with outside of university life. In fact, a few of my best friends even now are ones I have kept in contact with since moving away from my hometown. It’s lovely and refreshing to have a range of friends from different places in life which you can have different experiences with.
DON’T leave items out in the kitchen if you don’t want other people to use them
When planning what you want to bring to halls with you, you’ll probably start making a list that magically seems to continue growing by the week. The one thing I will say is if you are bringing your own things – particularly for the kitchen – be prepared to share them with your housemates. That George Foreman grill you placed down on the side? It’s free game now. Of course, your housemates will be very appreciative of the new equipment they can use, but if you’re not sure about your grill being used daily and potentially not always cleaned, it might be best to pack it away after use.
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