You may be desperate to move out of your parent’s house and gain your independence by going away to Uni, but while living in halls can be fun, there are also some challenges ahead. Although you’ll probably settle in quite quickly, there are some frustrating aspects you will only truly understand once you’re all moved in. Here are some of the typical struggles of living in halls every student understands:
1. Not getting enough sleep
You will probably have heard that halls are unavoidably noisy, but you won’t fully appreciate the frustration of not getting enough sleep until your third week of broken sleep. Unfortunately, halls tend to have paper-thin walls, so you’ll be able to hear your housemates listening to loud music into the early hours, parties going on upstairs, people talking outside and doors banging shut as people come in and out of the building. You may expect this to only last during freshers when first years are living up their new now freedom, but it happens all during the year and weekends are particularly bad. My advice is to take some earplugs to drown out the racket!
2. Housemates stealing your food
This is one of the most common struggles of living in halls that every student understands. While at the start of term everyone will have their own full cupboard of food, as the loan money begins to run out, you’ll likely notice things going missing. You will likely notice your milk level dropping faster than usual and slices of bread disappearing from the packet. It really is not mystery, students are often skint and lazy and your housemates are most definitely stealing your food! You should ideally keep some spare food in your room and you may even be able to get your own mini fridge. If not, make sure you label what’s yours in the communal fridge!
3. Fire alarms going off all the time
Fire alarms going off at all hours is an annoying and regular occurrence in while living in halls. Whether someone burns their toast after coming in drunk at 3am or leaves their shower door open and the steam gets to the sensor, you can expect to be rudely awaken in the middle of the night to the sound of that dreaded alarm. You’ll have to stand outside in your PJs while the whole building is checked for a fire and you’ll get angrier each time no fire is found. Please, avoid late night cooking, shut your shower door and no cheeky ciggies in your room!
4. Having to put up with other people’s mess
Being surrounded by other people’s mess is one of the worst struggles of living in halls that every student understands, particularly if you’re a bit of a clean freak. From dirty dishes to unemptied bins, the communal kitchen will end up looking like a bombsite, with empty beer bottles lined up along the window sill. Be ready for the gross reality of halls, with people using your cutlery without cleaning it afterwards, finding mouldy cups on the work surface and if you share a bathroom, good luck avoiding other people’s hair in the plughole! The problem is, no one does their fair share of chores and the ones who do want to fix it will be too stubborn to!
5. Making friends in your flat
Meeting new people is a big part of going to University and some of the first people you’ll meet are your housemates. In your first few days in your new home, you’ll likely be scared to leave your room and worried about getting on with those around you. To avoid the awkwardness, you’ll make conversation with the people you share a kitchen with, but you may not hit it off or find you have nothing in common. Go with an open mind and be friendly. If you’re the first one in your flat, offer new housemates a cup of tea when they arrive and give them a chance. Remember, you don’t have to be friends with everyone and it’ll probably be easier to make friends on your course, but being civil is crucial when living together!
6. Doing laundry!
Seemingly such a simple task, doing laundry at Uni can seem like more trouble than it’s worth and has got to be one of the biggest struggles of living in halls! You’ll have to drag your bag of washing to the laundrette along with your detergent, find the right change for the machine or make sure your electronic card is topped up and if you hit a busy period you may have to queue up. Even worse, if you leave your washing in the dryer and come back later, you may find that an impatient person has pulled all your clean laundry out of the machine and onto the floor! You also risk shrinking or destroying something that you shouldn’t have put in the dryer, but you’ll have no space in your room for a clothes airer, so you’ll end up with clothes hung up around your room on curtain rails and door handles!
7. Getting locked out
This will happen to most students at least once during their time in halls. You’ll likely need a fob or a card to open the outer door of the building and then you’ll have a key for your room. Even if you remember one, you’ll probably forget the other or you will try to wedge the door open so it doesn’t close behind you and it inevitably will. Getting locked out is common amongst freshers who aren’t used to having doors that automatically lock behind them, so you need to make sure you check you have your keys and card before you leave and save campus security’s number in your phone just in case. If you do get locked out, security should be able to let you in or you could bash on your housemates window and see if they’re in!
8. How small your wardrobe is
Having a tiny wardrobe in your room is yet another struggle of living in halls that every student understands, particularly if you’re a girl who brought every item of clothing that you own to Uni with you. Most Uni rooms are compact with only a small wardrobe, so if you’re a shopaholic you’ll run out of space quickly. If you’re lucky, you’ll also get a chest of drawers and you may get a wardrobe with a shelf so you can store bulkier items like jeans and towels up there.
Not only will you struggle to fit everything in, you’ll have to keep it organised so you’re able to find everything easily, otherwise it will get messy quickly. If you need more space, you could buy some under-bed storage boxes, or a good tip is to buy wire or velvet hangers that are narrower so you can cram more into your small hanging space!