Regardless of whether you’re in catered or self-catering halls, it couldn’t hurt to get some practice with cooking and cleaning before you move in. As tempting as it may sound to live off takeaways and ready meals, your body (and your wallet!) will thank you if you learn how to prepare a few basic healthy dishes. And you most definitely do not want to be the person who never washes up their stuff and doesn’t know how to clean up after themselves! Even if your halls come with a cleaning service, you will still be expected to keep things clean and tidy or you will be penalised. It’s also a very good idea to learn how to read the laundry tags on your clothes and how to work a washing machine.
TOP TIP: The washing machines in the laundry room at uni probably won’t look like the one you’ve got at home - they most likely won’t have the same slots for softener and washing powder. That’s why 2-in-1 laundry detergent capsules are always a safe bet!
Don’t be tempted to take loads and loads of stuff with you. The less you have, the easier moving in (and out) will be. With regards to kitchen stuff, you and your flatmates won’t want hundreds toasters and kettles, so perhaps hold off buying bits like that until you arrive - then you can decide between you what you need. You should try to make sure your plates, cups and cutlery are distinctive to avoid confusion. If you’re in catered halls, it might be worth taking some cutlery, plates and snacks - they could come in handy while you figure out the meal schedule and get into a routine.
TOP TIP: Family can be pretty embarrassing sometimes, but take them along as you’re probably going to need all the help you can get moving into your new room and getting all your stuff sorted. Don’t worry about looking silly - everyone else will be in the same boat!
Arrive early! Do your best to move in to halls as soon as you are permitted to do so; the majority of students will arrive at this time (usually a Saturday or a Sunday). It is pretty important for forming bonds with your flatmates and getting involved in all the orientation and freshers activities. Move-in weekend can be quite chaotic, and the day you actually move in will feel like a very long one! But don't panic, amidst all the bustling, there will be lots of people around to help you settle in! Do try to spend your first evening together with your new housemates - you’ll all be feeling a little strange, and it’s a lovely way to get to know each other right off the bat.
For most people, living in halls is their first experience of independence away from home and family. This can be both very exciting and very frightening. It may seem daunting, but keep calm and remember that everyone is in a similar situation to you. Although you might be nervous, don’t hide in your room; make the effort to say hello and get to know your flatmates! You may initially feel as though you don’t get on or connect with them, but give things time and let relationships develop naturally over the days and weeks you’ll spend together.
TOP TIP: Take some snacks or drinks to share on move-in day - this is a great icebreaker and will make getting to know each other a little less awkward. Depending on the fire regulations in place at your halls, also consider investing in a door-stop - keeping your door open will make you seem more approachable and friendly.
MAKE IT HOMELY
Rooms in halls of residence aren’t always as inviting as they might look in brochures or on your university website. Taking some decorations and pictures of your family and loved ones could help make your room seem a little less bare and help you get over the initial shock of moving out. As well as decorations and photos, you might want to think about getting items like fairy lights and pretty bedding to make your room more homely. If you don’t like the idea of living in a room that has had many lives before you, perhaps invest in a rug and a reed diffuser; the rug will brighten the place and cover the carpet and the reed diffuser will make the room smell like you, which is always nice!
TOP TIP: It’s highly likely that there will be a discount poster/plant sale during freshers, week, so see if you can pick these up when you get there.
Whether it’s a fancy dress social or a couple of drinks in a common room, find out what your halls of residence has got planned for freshers’ week and get involved. Invest in a plain white t-shirt and fancy-dress outfit (or two) before you go to university - they will definitely come in handy at some point! Take along some speakers, a pack of cards or a board-game; this could also help make getting to know other people easier during freshers’ week. Also remember that uni isn’t only about the alcohol; if that’s not really your scene, check out what other, non-alcoholic social events are planned at your halls!
TOP TIP: There will be loads of events on during freshers’ that you might have to purchase tickets for; wait until you have moved in and formulate a plan with your flatmates before you spend loads of cash on events that you may not even end up going to!
AVOID THE HYPE
After the first few weeks, people might start grouping together to find accommodation for second year. As tempting as it may be to jump on the hype, remember that people and situations can change drastically in a short space of time. There also isn’t any need to decide on second year housing so early on! Keep your options open and give yourself time to get to know people properly before signing any contracts you won’t be able to get out of easily!
Remember to keep your door locked when you leave the flat and beware of letting people you don’t recognise into your building. Your own safety is your most important concern.
So, there you have it! The Student Hut Guide to Moving into Halls. Now you'll be as cool as a cucumber come move-in day!
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