Moving into halls can be both exciting and stressful. On the one hand, you’ll be excited to make new friends, start your course, and enjoy independence for the first time. On the other, being left alone in an unfamiliar city will understandably seem like a daunting prospect. In this guide, I’ll be sharing a few tips I learned from my own experience in halls that can help make your first few days go as smoothly as possible.
Before you leave:
- Make the most of social media. Before you move in, check out the University of Leicester Freshers 2022 Facebook group and see if you can find the people you’ll be living with beforehand. You might also be able to find a group chat for your course, which can be a great way to meet people outside of your flat.
- Learn to cook. By no means do you need to be the second coming of Gordon Ramsay to live in halls, but learning some cheap, easy, and tasty recipes will go a long way towards making the task of living on your own for the first time a lot easier. BBC Good Food has a great list of student-friendly recipes to get you started.
- LABEL YOUR BOXES. I cannot stress this one enough. When you arrive, you’ll likely be tired and won’t want to spend your day unpacking. To make it as fast and stress-free as possible, make sure you know what’s in each box before you leave.
- Similarly, plan to arrive as early as possible, so that you can spend the evening socialising with your flat without worrying about unpacking.
- Check what’s provided in your room. On your accommodation page you should be able to find a list of what’s already there. It’s a good idea to check this so you don’t waste time and money buying your own mirror, for example.
Packing your entire life into a car can be stressful to say the least, and you’re bound to forget something important, so here are a few things you might not think to pack but you’ll be glad to have once you’re there:
- A screwdriver. You’d be surprised how often it comes in handy.
- An extension lead or two. Phones, laptops, TVs, games consoles – chances are you’ll arrive in halls with all kinds of gadgets that need plugging in. However, it’s likely that your room in halls will only have a couple of plug sockets, so bringing an extension lead can save you a lot of hassle.
- Simple card games. Something like Cards Against Humanity is always a great way to break the ice with new people.
- Basic first aid supplies, such as plasters, antiseptic cream and paracetamol/ibuprofen. Self explanatory really.
- An electric fan. While I can’t speak for other halls, the room I had in The Pavilions as a fresher was hotter than Satan’s armpit regardless of the outside temperature. Wherever you’re living, you’ll be glad to have it in the summer months.
- A doorstop. While unpacking means you’re going to be spending a fair amount of time in your room on the first day, it doesn’t mean you can’t be sociable. Propping your door open as you unpack can be a great way to meet your flatmates without having to aimlessly loiter in the kitchen.
So, the big day is here, your parents have driven off and you’re left on your own for the first time. What now?
- Most importantly, give yourself some time. It’s normal to feel a little panicked immediately after you’re left on your own, especially if this is your first time living independently – I know I did. The best way to get over these feelings, though, is to talk to your flatmates. Chances are they’re feeling exactly the same, and as the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved.
- Meet your flatmates! As an introvert myself, I know how hard it can feel to start conversations with total strangers. Remember, though – as cliché as it sounds, just about everybody will be in the same boat on the first day, and will want to make friends just as much as you do. Asking your flatmates where they’re from and what they’re studying is an easy conversation starter.
- Make your bed as soon as possible – that way, even if you (understandably) decide you’re too tired to finish unpacking in one day, you at least have somewhere to sleep!
- Make plans! The Leicester Students Union website has a handy calendar of all official Freshers’ Week events, ranging from sports ‘give it a go’ sessions to Mexican-themed tequila parties, and even a chance to unwind with some dogs in the SU common room! If you’re into clubbing, you can’t go wrong with LetsDisko, a staple of Leicester student culture held every Wednesday night at the O2 Academy on campus. See what your flatmates or people on your course are planning on going to or invite them to something you’re interested in!
- Be open to new things. University, and Freshers Week especially, can be a great chance to step outside your comfort zone, so even if a flatmate invites you to a society or a night out that doesn’t sound like your kind of thing, why not at least give it a shot? Worst case scenario, you won’t have to do it again. Best case scenario, you might meet new friends or find a new interest or hobby!
- Don’t panic if you don’t get along with your flatmates. You’ll have plenty of other opportunities to meet people during your first year, such as your course, societies, and freshers’ events. Personally, I never really clicked with my flatmates as a fresher, but I’ve since made some of my best friends at uni.
Hopefully these tips have helped alleviate a little bit of the stress you’ll no doubt have been feeling. Enjoy your time in Leicester!