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Why choose halls for your first year of university

Hey, I’m Laura and I’m a second-year PR student here at LBU. Last year, I experienced my first year of uni while living in Marsden House, one of Leeds Beckett’s halls of residence, just a 15-minute walk from the city centre. I learnt a lot from living in student accommodation and thought I’d share my experience with you.

Bedroom

Whether you can’t wait to move away from home or not, coming to university may seem like a daunting process and choosing where to live just adds to the stress. For me, staying in halls was always an obvious choice, it’s what I was looking forward to the most; moving away and meeting new people. Living in a student accommodation added a tonne of good memories to my student life last year.

Meet new people

In my opinion student halls are definitely the best way to meet new people, without a doubt. Sharing a flat with five or six strangers might seem scary at first but it’s not all that bad once you get to know them. From there you can meet their friends, and then their friend’s friends…you get the gist; you’re bound to find people you click with in such a large social circle. You’ll most probably have people from your course staying in the same accommodation as you, like I did, which is great for walking to lectures. Before the first day of uni, I was sceptical about this, but it turned out that six people on my course lived in Marsden, and I ended up noticing the same people walking back and forth from university. After the first week, I never walked to uni alone which was great!

Making use of the social areas in halls is another way to make friends. Not only did Marsden have great study spaces with soundproof pods, but also a social area with pool and ping-pong tables, gaming booths and comfy bar style seats. Me and my flatmates often went down there to do work or socialise with others and play games. There was also a good-sized gym in Marsden that was used by many.

The games room in Marsden House, a pool table sits on the left with a foosball table next to it

Games room in Marsden House

Learn to be self-sufficient

This might seem obvious, but you don’t realise how independent you become when you move away from home, and when your mum no longer cooks your food or does your washing. I actually started to enjoy the independence a lot quicker than I thought I would. Cooking my own desired meals and looking after myself gave me a feeling of freedom which I definitely needed. Doing pretty much everything yourself really does set you up for adult life whether you like it or not.

Living in uni halls does of course mean you have to pay rent, even if you’ve already used up your student loan on other things that you probably didn’t even need, but this is all part of the learning curve figuring out money handling and budgeting. I was quite lucky that my bar job was able to transfer me to Leeds, and I was able to budget my money better from having weekly wages which enabled me to put some of my money aside too. But if you’re not working, my top tip for budgeting would be to break down your weekly allowance and work out your essential spends, then you can see how much you can realistically afford to spend on extras. Try not to splurge when you see four figures in your bank account, as tempting as it is, but also make sure you have fun, you’re only a fresher once!

Modern grey cupboards line the walls in a kitchen space in Marsden House

Kitchen at Marsden House

Explore the city

Moving into halls means you’ll be based around your Beckett campus and in the centre or close by to Leeds, which is super convenient. Marsden House was about a 15-minute walk in the opposite direction from city centre, but I didn’t mind that and preferred the short walk into town in the mornings.

Leeds is a proper student city and is known to have that “vibe” about it which I love and appreciate massively after visiting my friends in other parts of England. When exploring the city with the friends I’ve met in halls, I quickly fell in love with it. Leeds is full of lively studenty hang out spots. There are many amazing bars and cafes, the nightlife is great, and there’s loads of arty culture too. In the day I enjoy going to Starbucks in between my lectures and using the library on campus. However, my most typical yet memorable nights in first year include going to Spoons or Walkabout for evening drinks (which offer student discounts), and then to one of the clubs in the centre. Everything is within walking distance, at all times, which makes it easy and fun.

Living in such a fast-paced, exciting city means doors are open to many opportunities around here, not just in education but in work too. Most importantly it also has so many social opportunities which has made a huge difference to my personal growth in the last year. I’ve become a much more social, open-minded, productive and confident individual. The world is really your oyster here!

Feel safe

Living in halls definitely added security and reassurance to my first year of living independently in a big city. Marsden House had a gated key card entrance and there was always 24-hour security walking around which made me feel safe and secure. The reception desk was always available too, and the staff were friendly when I went to pick up my online deliveries. All of these things added a much-needed comfort to my living, and it’s something that made my parents feel at ease too.

As much as you’re moving to a new place by yourself and are responsible for yourself, it’s nice knowing that you’re still under the Leeds Beckett wing when living in halls.

All in all, I would highly recommend staying in halls for your first year of uni. I particularly enjoyed my first year at Leeds Beckett and would recommend Marsden House as it's known to be one of the liveliest student accommodations. However, there are many LBU halls dotted all around Leeds, and there will definitely be something for everyone’s needs. I wish you all the best in your university experience!

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Laura G

Hi, I'm Laura, a second year PR student here at LBU. Outside of university my interests include fitness, socialising with friends and traveling (anything that benefits my wellbeing really). I’m passionate about spreading positivity and enjoy motivating people so that they can become the best version of themselves!


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