Although it's new and exciting to have your own space for the first time, moving into halls can be a scary and unfamiliar experience too. Once the novelty of picking out items you definitely don’t need wears off (like my portable colander and a bulk-pack of clothes pegs) it can sometimes feel a bit lonely in halls, especially if you don’t have much to do. In this blog post, I’m going to show you some ways I adjusted to living in halls!
1. Keep yourself busy
This is probably a given in the first few weeks of university – you’ll attend your first lectures, seminars, and Freshers events, as well as meeting a whole new crowd of people. You’ll probably have some work to do during the first month of your course – even if it’s just reading. Getting it done can be not only rewarding, but it will distract you from feeling homesick. If you do find yourself missing home, call a friend or family member and talk it out. If you don’t live too far away, arrange to meet up for a day in the future so you have something to look forward to!
Anyone who owns fairy lights will tell you how much they improve even the smallest and darkest of rooms – and they’re 100% right! If you’re a minimalist, some basic white wire lights will only set you back a few pounds from shops like Primark. If you want to go all out, there are so many designs to choose from – ladybirds, bees, snowflakes, miniature lanterns, ivy – all of them will improve the atmosphere of your room - especially in the winter months as they make you feel so much more cosy.
If you’re not a fairy light kind of person (firstly, I’m confused), you may find comfort in other accessories, like posters from your favourite artists, or art prints. I have two posters on my walls of Japanese designs that I got from the poster sale that runs in the Hive on City Campus a few times a year. They’re really eye-catching, remind me of home and barely cost me any money!
Also: make sure any candles are only for display as many halls don't allow them. If you like your room to smell extra lovely, invest in a reed diffuser or a room spray. Burning candles can set off fire alarms and won’t make you very popular with your block of flats, so be careful!
3. Momentos from home
If all else fails, take your favourite pictures of you with friends and family and pin them up on your noticeboard – seeing your favourite memories every time you go into your room can make it feel so much more like home! Websites like FreePrints and shops like Boots are an affordable way of having high-quality photos you can hang with pride. Other personal items like books and CDs/vinyls not only look good on display, but also serve as a nice reminder of home.
4. Be social
When I moved out, the best piece of advice I was given was to bring biscuits, offer everyone who wants one a cup of tea, and to not lock yourself in your room on moving day. Give your flatmates a good first impression of yourself. Cook yourself a meal, no matter how complicated. Or if you really can't cook, order a takeaway which you can enjoy with all your flatmates - instead of hurrying away with whatever ready meal you can find. Eating in a group can be something to bond over. You can also arrange to go somewhere together as a flat that you can all look forward to, and be as open as possible to trying new things! The first few weeks go so quickly, so try and have as much fun as you can and take every opportunity.
Overall, moving out of your home and into halls is a strange but valuable experience and all part of growing up. My main pieces of advice would be to get involved wherever you can, try to make friends with everyone around you, and when all else fails it’s hard to mess up a Pot Noodle!