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!