Living in student halls is an adventure and can provide some of the most memorable moments of your Uni-life. Learning to fend for yourself and live alongside your peers without the watchful eyes and interference of your parents can be exciting, educational, a little scary and most likely hilarious. But adjusting to “hall-life” isn’t always easy and it often takes some time and effort to feel fully comfortable sharing a new space with complete strangers. Whether you live in a small flat or traditional-style large halls, here are some tips to help ease you in to hall-life and living in peace with your fellow student housemates…
- Communication is key – Attempt to get to know everyone you live with. This is easy enough if there’s only a small group of you, but even if you live in larger halls, at least try and know as many names as possible. A huge part of the University experience is getting out of your comfort zone and meeting people from various walks of life. Therefore, be open to new experiences and don’t presume that you won’t get on with someone who appears a little different from you. Be sure to make the effort to get people hanging out together – make use of Facebook groups and house notice boards to organise group activities. It sounds obvious, but taking the time to get to know people will definitely be worth it. Also, bear in mind that if problems do start to emerge later in the year, they are much easier to resolve if you guys aren’t complete strangers!
- Be willing to Compromise – Accept that not everything will be perfect and that sometimes no matter how hard you try, there may be people who you simply won’t get on with. Don’t let this put a dampener on your hall-life. Just focus on being able to live alongside your flatmates in a civil and mutually respectful manner. There will be differences of opinions and unfortunately there is likely to be arguments. This is simply what happens when a large group of people have to live together and sometimes you have to be willing to take the good with the bad. Harking back to my previous point, it’s also important to keep communicating even when things do go wrong – DON’T resort to leaving passive aggressive notes or talking behind backs. Face your problems head-on and try to nip issues in the bud as soon as they arise.
- Be Considerate – Think of others. This one is simple, yet it’s amazing how easy it is to overlook. Living in a house full of students is not the same as living with your parents and you will have to adapt to a new routine and coping with other peoples habits and lifestyles. However, always be mindful of others, even in the little things. For instance, do you really need to spend half an hour in the shower when there’s a queue of your housemates outside the bathroom door? Do you have to play music all night or create a racket when you stumble through the door at 4am? If you think of others you’re likely to find that they will do the same for you. Also, be sure to take the time to inject a little bit of organisation into your lives in order to make everyone’s hall-life experience easier. This could mean sorting out a rota for taking the bins out, or agreeing on a group kitchen tidying session etc.
- Use your RA – They are there to help you and have been trained to deal with the various issues that arise in the student housing environment. If things are going wrong, have a chat with them and see what they suggest.
- Understand that sometimes you will simply need your own space. Going to University brings many changes and it may feel at times like your world has been tipped upside down. In your first year, there’s also an ever-present pressure to constantly socialise and appear to be having a whale of a time with all your new flatmates. However, it’s ok to take time out and do your own thing. Don’t be afraid to close your door every once in a while and get some time to yourself. Hall-life can be fun, stressful, exciting and exhausting all at the same time. So take it as it comes, look after yourself and most importantly, enjoy it!