Halls of residence, Housemates, Living away from home

Hall Life

Moving away from home for the first time is not easy in itself let alone being chucked in a flat with potentially 7 other random people (or more). It certainly is a challenge for most.

The thought of university for pretty much a year before I arrived was massively daunting. I think what the main reason for this was the complete fear of the unknown. I guess what I have learnt is that you can never truly know what it’s going to be like until you’ve experienced it yourself. Everyone has their own individual and unique experiences at university, some good and some bad. I think there is a lot of pressure on people that it is going to be the best time of their life and they are going to love it and make friends for life. Luckily for most, this is completely the case and you are very likely to completely enjoy university life.

I came to uni with such low expectations that in reality, it could only ever get better (which it did!). Living in halls is part of this experience and despite all its ups and downs, I think it is so unique and a once in a life time thing. When else are you going to live in pretty much a student village, surrounded by thousands of people your age whilst trying to perfect the art of independent living?

One of the biggest perks of it is that you are all in it together. Learning and doing things for the first time whether that be cooking, ironing, washing clothes, etc is great because the majority of people will be experiencing this too. However, the trials and tribulations of this are not without hilarious moments like one of my flatmates attempting to iron for the first time and thinking they had nailed it. Later they found that they hadn’t even switched it on! Even when I had to do my washing for the first time in the classic laundry room, being in such a flurry not to embarrass myself, I totally forgot to put the washing liquid in. A gutting waste of £2.70. It’s safe to say I never made that mistake again. You live and you learn.

I currently live in Talybont North which usually garners me sympathy when telling fellow students this as it is renowned as the somewhat least, let’s say glamorous Talybont accommodation. Being a 35 minute walk from my lectures, I certainly get my exercise but in reality, North really isn’t that bad. I’ve kind of grown to like it really. Once you have all your little nick nacks in your room and you make it yours, you feel cosy in no time.

One of the most irritating elements of hall life are definitely the fire alarms. Them going off at 3am because someone has head-butted the alarm is not the best of fun when you all have to stand outside in the cold and rain for 30 minutes while security comes and demands who set it off. Looking back it is kinda funny but in the moment you are just like “whyyyyy!”.

Another thing you have to prepare for is the inevitability that someone will steal your food. Sometimes it is on a frequent basis which is hugely frustrating but I guess part of uni is mixing with people from all backgrounds you can’t really expect people to think the same way as you do. A tip if this does happen is to address it asap because if people are not being confronted about it then they are likely to just carry on.

The messy kitchen is just a staple part of halls and is to be expected. Just don’t let it get too bad otherwise you will be issued with an angry note and a fine from the cleaner. We learnt this the hard way during freshers, just three days into uni. Hosting the pres every night didn’t really do much for the cleanliness of the kitchen but hey it’s all good fun.

Apart from the messy kitchens, conflict over the bin rota, dodgy home cooked dinners and parties everyday of the week, hall life is great. What I have to say is don’t be afraid to get stuck in. This is the perfect opportunity to make friends with those around you and really create a special bond with your flat mates. It turns out all my pre-university anxiety was for nothing because I am very happy with life in halls and life in Cardiff. It is incredibly easy to make friends, especially in freshers. If you are worrying, stop it now!

Honestly, first year has whizzed by and I can’t believe that I’m already in my last term. Make the most of living in this unique environment as it is not something you are going to experience again!


  • Sinead Ryan

    Hi Ellie,
    I have a question about Cartright Court and don’t know if you know the answer or know anyone who could help. I’m applying for accom. there and the residential fees website give Cartright Court Houses A and B as £4506 a year and Cartright Houses 1 to 16 as £ 4165. I can’t work out what the difference in price is ! Some are maybe called flats and some are houses but it’s not clear! Thanks, Sinead

    • Ellie Ball

      Hi Sinead,
      It looks like to me that the differences between the two will literally be the size of the room. It seems that all of the flats in Cartright are shared bathroom and are in the same location. This is similar to other halls of residence where prices vary just because of the size of your room.
      However I don’t know anyone who lives in Cartright so unfortunately couldn’t tell you 100% but this is what it is likely to be!
      If you have any other questions about halls i’m more than happy to answer.

  • Chan

    Hi Ellie,

    Do you mind sharing a bit of how you cope when you first arrived in Cardiff University and how you overcome your fear of a completely unknown city and friends?

    • Ellie Ball

      Hi there!
      That is a good question – So I was extremely nervous for a long time before coming to Cardiff so it was a bit unpredictable to how well I would settle in and find life on my own in a new place! I think I can speak for many people when I say that my fears were for nothing and as cheesy as it sounds, genuinely everyone is in the same boat which made it a lot easier to cope and settle in. You will find that everyone is so friendly and willing to hang out, especially during freshers. So because of that, it was easy to find people to go out with and chill with.
      Exploring the new city was extremely fun and exciting! I feel like Cardiff is somewhere you can settle really quickly as it has such a nice vibe to it. I can truly say that I wish I never worried as much as I did because it was all for nothing! First year has been a blur of excitement and memories.
      I’d say the best way I found, to overcome my fears was to bite the bullet and get involved with lots stuff – go to all the fairs, join societies and do the give it a go events that the uni puts on! You will thank yourself for it and it will make you feel so much more comfortable getting to know familiar faces and getting to know the city!
      I hope this has helped. Honestly if you want any more info or me to answer any other specific questions I am more than happy to do so!
      Thank you

  • Chan

    Thank you so much for your sharing! It helps a lot! Makes me want to go to Cardiff University eagerly after reading what you’ve been through during the first year 🙂

  • Marie

    Could you please elaborate more on freshers please, sounds daff probably but what happens during the first week?

    • Ellie

      Hi there,
      So during the first week of university (freshers week) it is all about settling into your new home in Cardiff. The university puts on tons of events during the day and night including the freshers fairs which allow you to find out all about the different sports and societies you can join. There is lots of activities and give it a go events through the week where you can try out lots of different things and some examples of these can be seen on Cardiff’s Student Union website here – https://www.cardiffstudents.com/whatson/giveitago/
      In the evenings, club nights are put on in the Student Union which are a fun way of meeting people. In terms of your course, there will be introduction sessions where you can also get to know people studying your course and meet your lecturers which is very useful.
      Overall, it is just a time to settle in, have fun and meet people. There is too many activities to name but there is something for everyone and it is a key time to make friends.
      Hope this helps and if you have any other questions, feel free to ask 🙂

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