What’s it like living in halls?

First year Heather Barter tells us why she chose to live in Mary Newman Hall, the best bits of living on campus, and having a cry on moving in day…  

First things first: how did you choose a hall?

I wanted one that was close to the campus and en-suite. After visiting the accommodation on the open days I could picture myself living in campus halls. It’s so handy as you’re less than five minutes away from everything – the SU, the campus shop, the library and most importantly your lectures.

How did you feel on the day you moved in?

I didn’t feel nervous until about an hour before my move-in slot, when it suddenly dawned on me: “Oh my God, I’m going to Uni” It is perfectly normal to feel nervous and scared. I had a bit of a cry. But you have to remember everyone is in the same boat as you, even if they don’t look like it.

Did you know anyone before you arrived?

I had contacted most of my flatmates on Facebook about a month before. This helped reduce nerves on the move-in day as I recognised people, which made it less daunting.

Was it easy to make friends?

You’re living in such a tightknit community that it is really easy to make friends with people in your halls. You meet people not only in your flat but also from the flat across from you, above and below you. I even made friends just by having a chat with people in the lifts. On the first night the University gave us free pizza in our kitchens to help us bond. The University is so lovely when you move in – there are always people around, ready and willing to help you. After a few weeks it already felt like home. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

How does it help having Residential Assistants (RAs)?

Being students themselves, it is really easy to connect to the RAs. There is someone on call 24-hours, so if you have to deal with a rowdy flatmate or a noisy party at 1am, they can help sort it out. They are very easy to talk to and you have weekly meetings to make sure you’re enjoying everything and to discuss any problems. I never saw RAs offered at any other university open days. Having older students living near you lessens the pressure of being completely independent, as you know they have your back if something goes wrong.

What kind of social events get organised in your hall?

There are lots of events on all the time. There was the interhalls social in freshers’ week, Halloween pumpkin carving and a flat decorating contest. There is a free movie night every Sunday and coming up we have a Mary Newman Bake Off. There is always something going on.

What are the three best things about living in halls?

1.   Being close to everything

2.   Your flatmates becoming like your new family

3.   The new-found sense of freedom and independence

Student Life magazine: Spring 2016 issue 2