You’ve got your place at Leeds Beckett and your place in halls all sorted. You’re in the process of getting together your pots, pans, knives, forks, toasters, kettles and anything else you think you might need, ready to move to Leeds. This is a quick guide to help you get the most out of your first year halls experience. Take my word for it, it flies by so you want to make the most of your time there.
- Be a ‘yes man’
Now this might sound really cliché because everybody always says it before uni, but grasp every opportunity you can. Living in halls is the best place to be experiencing new things and taking on new opportunities. You regret things you don’t do much more often than the things you do, do! I’m not saying to say yes to absolutely everything that presents itself to you as you merely won’t have time, I’m just suggesting to say yes far more often than you say no, you won’t like to regret it. This helps massively with making friends too.
- Don’t worry about Freshers events beforehand
In the run up to your move-in date, you’ll be bombarded with emails and social media requests. Many of them will be asking you to part with your cash in exchange for a wristband for “the best freshers events in Leeds!” (or similar). Not only will you be a few quid lighter, but also, the people you move in with may have bought completely different ones. My advice would be wait until you move to Leeds and meet your new housemates before you part with any cash (don’t worry, they won’t sell out, as much as they say they will).
Now this one might sound odd, but make sure you get one of these! If you haven’t got one already then you can get yourself one for less than a couple of quid at Wilkos either in Headingley or the city centre. Most bedroom doors in halls shut automatically, so if you’re tidying your room, unpacking, changing your bed etc, then you’re cut off from the rest of the flat. By using a doorstop, your door remains open (just make sure you shut the door when you leave your room) allowing for much more socialising. It’s much more welcoming going into your housemates rooms without having to knock first. A doorstop is a MUST!
- Don’t try and re-invent yourself
You’re moving away and meeting new people who have no idea who you are or where you come from. This is the second cliché bit of advice on the list but don’t try to be somebody you’re not. It’s cheesy, but just be yourself. You gravitate towards similar people so if you’re acting out a false persona, people will soon see through it. Just be yourself, and everything else will follow.
- Hang fire with the kitchen appliances
If, like me, you’re in a flat of 9 people, then don’t make the mistake we did. We all brought a kettle and toaster, meaning we had 9 of each. 9 kettles and toasters. 9! So I’m just saying wait until you move in and in the first couple of days, all chuck a couple of quid in to get some communal ones from Wilkos (there’s a pattern emerging here. Wilkos has saved me more times than I care to mention!).
This can be tricky for some people, like those not used to new social situations. Try and force yourself to socialise, because it does pay off. Forming those bonds in the first couple of weeks with your new housemates helps to make amazing friendships. Friendships you’ll likely have for the rest of your life. Get to know your neighbours, they can become as close friends as the people in your flat.
- Don’t be the resident nagger
Despite the cleanliness rating you filled in on your accommodation form before moving in, just remember, it’s a student flat. That doesn’t go to say that you’re going to be living in a pig sty the full time, but every now and then, it will get a bit messy. There will be a few dirty pots and a few crumbs about. Although it might be hard not to, try not to be the nagger of the flat telling everyone to do this, and to do that. Doing this will quickly create an awkward atmosphere and can often lead to petty (avoidable) squabbles. At the same time, don’t be a slob, do your dishes and pull your weight when it comes to keeping the gaff clean. And also be prepared to compromise as well as negotiate.
- It’s okay to miss home
Moving out is quite a big deal, there’s no two ways about it. You will miss home at some point. When you do, cut yourself a bit of slack - it happens to everyone. Give mum and dad a call and you’ll be feeling a lot better in no time.
It doesn’t take me to tell you to watch your money. Don’t be like so many students, moving away from home, finding a new sense of freedom and blowing your student loan and overdraft in the first 2 weeks! (For the record, the Santander student account is the best student account around in my opinion). Pace yourself, you’ve got all year to spend your money. You don’t need to spend it all at the first opportunity.
- Don’t bring your car
Now it might sound tempting, but bringing your car to uni (if you’re lucky enough to have one) means one thing... you’re now the resident taxi driver for your flat! Not just your flat, but your neighbours, their neighbours, and their neighbours. If a handful of you need a trip to Aldi, then an Uber, once split will cost no more than a couple of quid each. Not only is bringing your car to uni unnecessary, but can also get very expensive.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a few pointers to help you squeeze the most out of your first year halls experience. University halls really is what you make of it, and done correctly, is one of the most enjoyable years you’ll ever have!