Living in student accommodation is a large part of student life for many. Moving into halls and living with people you have never met before can seem like a terrifying experience. The excitement of living away from home can also come with many worries.
For my first year of university, I lived in Heathfield. Heathfield is located on campus next to the Institute of Sport & Exercise (ISE) and Dalhousie where many lectures and tutorials take place. I thought that it would be useful to discuss what moving in day was like for me and my overall experience of living in halls for a year.
On the 2nd September 2017, I moved into Heathfield. Away from the comforts of living at home and the start of my university journey. Due to the anticipation of the day ahead, I woke up early that morning. I had already travelled up to Dundee the day before as it took a very long 7-hour train journey. As I travelled by train, I only had two suitcases. This meant that I had a lot of stuff to buy for my new room. This was never a problem as here in Dundee there are a good number of shops, supermarkets or you can always order online.
At around 10 am, my parents and I went into the city centre to buy essentials for my room. The first place we went to was Primark. I picked up some of the essentials such as a duvet, pillows, duvet cover and towels. Due to other students moving in, the home section was full of other students and their parents. Primark is one of my favourite shops for homeware essentials. Along with the items being super affordable, you can find some really nice pieces to make your room feel more like home. I love it so much that the majority of the stuff in my room this year is from there too. There is a Tesco Extra a 5-10-minute walk away from campus which also contains many basic homeware essentials and is a must for your first big food shop. One of my favourite things about Dundee is that you can walk everywhere you need to go. Every shop you need is only a short walk away.
After some shopping, the much-anticipated moment of collecting my keys had finally arrived. This is a quick and simple process if you’re lucky enough to get there before the long queues build up. As I was dragging my suitcase along with me, it hit me that this would be my home for the next year. Although part of me was terrified, I couldn’t wait to see my new room and start the next chapter of my life.
Opening the door to your room for the first time is a weird experience. I remember it feeling very different as to what it did during open days and applicant days. Although these days are a fantastic opportunity, it can all seem like a bit of a blur when you look back. My first thought was that the room was so much bigger than what I had imagined. Also, the room was super bright. Throughout the whole year, I loved how bright my room was. It made living and studying a much more positive experience. One of my most favourite things about the room was the desk. I love having a huge workspace. The desk had plenty of space for everything I needed. Living in halls means that you do not have to worry about things like bills and internet.Connecting to the internet was a simple process when I moved in. Something I miss about living in halls is how good the internet is, you certainly don’t get as good internet speeds anywhere else.
After spending way too long looking around the room and trying to comprehend that this would be my room for the next year, my parents helped me unpack. It didn’t take me too long to unpack and there is always plenty of time to do so in the next few days. After all the unpacking was done, I headed to the kitchen to properly meet my flatmates. People gradually started meeting in the kitchen as they finished unpacking. Although it can seem a little awkward and overwhelming at first, it really isn’t as terrifying as it may seem. This is the best time to get to know your flatmates and make any plans for Freshers week. All of those worries will disappear as you begin to talk to your flatmates. I was lucky enough to have amazing flatmates and we all got on well throughout the year. Whilst applying for accommodation you are given the option to select any preferences you may have. This means that you will likely be with people who you will get along well with.
Before I went to university I expected it to be way noisier than it actually was. My room faced the courtyard which meant that on the typical going out nights there would be some noise. This is expected whilst living in student accommodation and was never an issue at all. Most people had gone out by the time I headed to sleep. Of course, it depends on where you are located, but I found that it was pretty quiet most of the time. During my time in halls, we were all made aware of the security number which you could call if there were any concerns or noise complaints. Living on campus always felt safe and secure which is exactly what student accommodation should feel like. You are surrounded by hundreds of other students and have access to help if needed. Another added bonus of living on campus is that you are a 5-minute walk away from places such as the library and lecture theatres. Everything you need is located on campus.
Overall, my experience in halls was super positive and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. There are times when I really miss it. Although it can be a nerve-wracking experience, it soon feels familiar and like home. You begin to form amazing friendships with your flatmates and fully emerge yourself in student life. You learn more about yourself and other people. It truly is an experience unlike anything else.