Student Blog Squad

A guide to living in halls

Hey guys, my name is Francesca and I’m going to be sharing my personal experience moving into student halls at Leeds Beckett and giving tips on how to make the most out of your experience and basically have the best time ever!

Arena Village exterior, the sun glints off the metal cladding of the tower

I’m a first-year student so every feeling you might have about moving into halls, I’m sure I have felt them all - you are not on your own. As someone who’s a bit of a home bird and loves being with my family and friends (which isn’t a bad thing), I was nervous about the new responsibilities I would face as a student, living far away from home with people who, at the time, I didn’t know. It can feel so daunting and scary but believe me when I tell you that it is such an exciting experience and even though it’s a huge change, it is most definitely a good one.

Meeting new people

Going to university is 100% one of the best ways to make new friends and when you move into halls you’ll see why. The people you live with will (more likely than not) will become some of the closest friends you have in your first year and even throughout your time at Leeds Beckett. I am living in Arena Village this year and I have five other flatmates. I think this is a good number of people because it makes living away from home less intimidating and I never feel like I’m on my own. Luckily my flatmates are all really friendly and sociable and I get on with them well even though sometimes the boys in our flat aren't always the tidiest! The kitchen is the main social space in our flat, there’s always something going on there. In the evenings we usually come into the kitchen at around the same time and cook our meals together which is always an eye-opening experience. It’s also where we’ll sit and binge watch movies or tv shows - we just finished The Haunting of Hill House on Netlfix which we would all strongly recommend. All in all we’ve had a great first term as a group and have really enjoyed getting to know one another, through sitting in our kitchen doing random activities; we carved pumpkins at Halloween and we even managed to pull together a flat Christmas dinner which went down extremely well (a shock to us all).

Top tip: I would say a great tip for making friends and breaking the ice is either getting a takeaway or going out on your first/second night all together. That really helped me and my flatmates bond in a casual setting and made things easier moving forward. I was also able to reach out to my flatmates through the Leeds Beckett accommodation website so a few of us got to know each other before actually moving in which definitely relieved a lot of pressure and nerves.

Independence

One thing that I was really looking forward to before moving into my student accommodation was the independence. The days of curfews and sharing a bathroom (and annoying younger brothers) were behind me, and so far, I’m loving the freedom. It is a big step and nerves are completely expected, so don’t worry if this seems like what you’re feeling, my advice would be to simply trust the process. After a week of living away from home everything will eventually begin to feel normal again.

Top tip: One thing that might help if you do ever feel homesick is to remember that your family is just a phone call away and calling them will help calm you down. Another great thing about halls is that you can decorate your room in any way you like, so bringing pictures and home comforts with you to university is a great way to feel at home. I used photographs as a great way to remind myself of all the friends and family I have back home. They also made my living space look so much nicer and personal to me, so make sure you print some off before you go. Side note - I ordered mine online as I have no printer at home, so don’t worry if you’re the same.

Exploring the city

My accommodation is right in the city centre, which is essentially on the doorstep of every kind of shop or restaurant you could ever want, so things never really get boring when living in halls. If like me you come from a home located near countryside and farmland, living in a big, lively city is the opposite of what you might be used to. However, the possibilities are endless, and I would encourage everyone to explore it while you can. I have been lucky enough to move to university with a childhood friend living just down the road from me. We love to walk around the city, discovering new hidden cafés and shops that don’t appear on the high street and that we have never heard of before. I personally can also be a bit of a shopaholic, so the city centre is really amazing when I’m in a ‘new clothes’ kind of mood as all my favourite shops are a five-minute walk away (needless to say, my bank account suffers sometimes, it’s worth it though). Of course, things have been different this year for many of us, but even in current circumstances with the pandemic, living in Leeds never fails to disappoint, and I can only imagine even better things for when student life can finally return to normal.

Top tip: There are so many great ways to experience this fabulous city, but one thing that really helped me find my way was to go somewhere different every time. If you’re looking for somewhere to eat just take a walk through the city and see what takes your fancy, as there is a bar or restaurant on every corner, I guarantee you will pass so many that you will have to make a list of places you want to try out next time (I have at least fifteen in my notes on my phone). Plus, this way, you’ll start to know your way around the city much quicker and it will begin to feel like a home rather than a strange new place.

In my opinion, having the experience of living in halls isn’t one to be missed, especially in a city like Leeds. I sincerely hope that my tips have helped you and that this blog makes things clearer for you, and I hope you enjoy your halls experience just as much as I do!

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