Top tips for moving into halls
It’s natural to feel a mix of emotions when moving to a new place for University. One minute you can’t wait to pack up and get away, and the next you’re wondering if it’s too late to apply to your local University and stay at home forever. There are so many things to look forward to, but that might not stop you from being nervous! I’ve put together a list of things I wish I’d known when moving into halls along with some tips to help overcome any worries you might be having.
- Everyone’s in the same boat: If you’re feeling anxious about making friends in a new place, don’t forget that everyone else is looking to make friends too. You won’t meet people by staying in your bedroom, so spend time in the communal areas in your halls, and don’t be afraid to knock on people’s doors to introduce yourself! A lot of people get lucky with the people they live with and become really good friends, but it’s also important to remember that there are other people out there looking to make friends too! Explore beyond your flat door and try to meet other students in your block, you might meet someone you’ve got a lot in common with.
- Get involved: A great way to bond with your new flatmates and meet new people is to get involved with events and societies. At MMU there is a lot to do during Welcome Week, so keep your eye out for all the exciting events – there’s something for everyone. A lot of societies arrange meeting points before events, so if there’s something you’re interested in but don’t have anyone to go with, see if you can find a group that is already going! Make sure to head down to the Freshers’ Fair to find out about sports and societies and take advantage of all the opportunities and freebies!
- Money, money, money: Getting your student loan for the first time and the excitement at seeing the sudden increase in your bank balance can often makes you forget that the money has got to last. Living like a millionaire during the first week and not having any money for the rest of the term is not an ideal situation to be in. A few simple calculations before you arrive can help you to spend wisely in order to have a great Welcome Week and enjoy the rest of the term as well. So think twice about buying a whole new wardrobe or a brand new flat-screen for the living room!
- What to bring: It’s easy to get carried away when picking out things for your new bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, but think carefully about what you actually need! Remember that university bedrooms might be smaller than what you’re used to at home, so until you’re familiar with the amount of storage space at your disposal, it’s a good idea to pack light. There are details on the MMU accommodation website about what is already provided at your halls, so check this before wasting money on duplicate items. A common mistake is buying one of everything in the homeware section ‘just in case’, but don’t forget that you’re not moving to a remote country with no shops! You’ll be able to buy anything you need once you get to university, so don’t stress over whether or not you’ve got everything you need. Another tip when buying your crockery and cutlery is to find something distinguishable to make sure you’re using and/or taking your own things home at the end of the year.
- Avoiding tension and setting ‘house rules’: Communal living can be a tricky to navigate, especially if it’s the first time you’ve lived with anyone outside of your family. Whilst working as an RA I’ve seen lots of different situations where tension between flatmates could have easily been avoided! Having discussions early on about ‘house rules’ and finding out what everyone in the flat thinks is reasonable can avoid tension later down the line. This could include whether or not you share cooking equipment, how the communal storage space is divided up, cleaning responsibilities, noise levels and guests. It can also be useful to come up with a cleaning rota for the communal areas so it’s not always the same person hoovering the carpets or taking the bins out!
- Home sickness: Most people will feel homesick at some point, and everyone deals with it in a different way. Some people like to decorate their rooms with things that remind them of home, and others make their favourite home-cooked meal as a comfort. If you’re feeling low, it’s nice to have something to look forward to, so book a train ticket home for a few weeks’ time, have a group video chat with your friends from home, or arrange for one of them to visit you. One of the other RA’s, Jack, has written a whole blog about beating homesickness, so be sure to have a look!
- Talk to your RA: RA’s are there to support you, answer any questions and talk to you about any problems. We’ve all been through it before, so will be able to offer some advice to help you settle in!