Annie from the University of Surrey shares her experiences about living in halls...
Cheering, dancing and brightly coloured banners…it only seemed like one-step down from a red-carpet entrance! Freshers’ Angels at Surrey University were on hand to help transport my many boxes of pots and pans into my room and explain the various Welcome Week events on the day I moved into my new home at university.
Like the vast majority of students I opted to live in Halls accommodation for my First Year of university and had an en-suite room in a self-catered flat. I shared a kitchen with twelve other people, none of whom did my course. It initially seemed daunting to think I would be living with these people, from different countries with a variety of hobbies, however it was such a brilliant experience. Not only did I learn so much about the different cultures, including some delicious Caribbean recipes, but it was reassuring to know I had people around me who were in the same situation. We also had a Student Life Mentor, a current student at the university, who came round once a week in the first semester to check everything was okay and could answer any questions which seemed too trivial to approach a member of staff about.
As we settled in, it became clear the kitchen would never be too crowded due to our different timetables, sport training and societies. It was rare that I ate my own however, and even though we tended to cook individually on a day-to-day basis, we would often have a flat meal together, even if it was something as simple as pizza. Not having catered accommodation meant scheduling time to do food shopping each week, do the cooking and ultimately the washing up afterwards; but personally it gave me more flexibility about the activities I could do rather than being constrained by fixed mealtimes. It also allows you to develop the life-skill of cooking and whilst it was it was the first time some people had learnt to boil an egg, it also became clear – in typical student fashion – that microwaves and metal should never mix! Moving away from home teaches you a lot of practical life lessons, such as cleaning and ironing, but it’s also a time to make friends for life and despite the balancing-act of sharing fridge space I wouldn’t change living in halls for the world, as it’s the perfect way to be immersed in campus life…and it’s the only year you’ll be able to get from your bed to lectures in five minutes!
Written by Annie May, Second Year BA French and Spanish Student at the University of Surrey.