Moving into university accommodation can be an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience, and for many, is an important stage of starting university. With this in mind, I’ve thought of some things to remember and advice if you’re moving into halls this year.
1. You are not alone. Remember that when you first move into halls, everyone in your flat will likely be going through similar experiences. This certainly helped me when I moved in, and took away any pressure to adapt to a new living situation straight away as all of us were still figuring it out. Try to share any anxieties with your flat mates, as they might be able to relate and you could help each other out. In some cases, not everyone in your hall or flat may be a first-year student. Don’t be daunted; they might be able to offer you some advice. Remember, though, that they themselves are probably having to adjust to having new flat mates too!
2. People work hard to keep you safe. When I first moved into halls, I was worried about the safety of the environment. Campus is so much bigger than what I’m used to, and it felt different from the security of home. I needn’t have worried, though. The Security Team are very responsive and there 24/7, and for as long as I’ve been in halls (for two years so far due to my disability) I haven’t worried about safety since. I have found the Residential Life Team, who you can go to with any queries, very friendly and supportive.
3. You can build a home from home. Eventually, you’ll likely find you get used to living in halls and adapt well to residential university life. I have found I’ve become quite attached to my hall and the routine I’ve established, even though to begin with I was unsure whether I’d like it. Once Welcome Week is over, studying will begin. It might sound stressful having studying to deal with on top of a new living situation, but, for me at least it meant my mind was kept busy and I was worrying about living somewhere new and away from home less. It might help to bring some comforts from home, such as cushions, but make sure there are little differences (such as different photos) at uni than you have at home to help you adjust.
4. Try to build good relationships with your flat mates. It can be a little strange being put together with a group of completely new people, but try to think of it as a positive opportunity to build new friendships, share an experience and perhaps learn about new subjects or cultures. For me, in first year, every so often one of us would take it in turns to cook a meal for the rest of the flat. This was a great chance to try new food and catch up with each other. It was surprising to me when I first moved in how little I saw my flat mates, owing to different timetables so scheduling time to do something as a group was really nice. The Accommodation Team do try and place people with similar personalities together, but this isn’t always possible. Again, try to embrace the opportunity to make new kinds of friendships. If you don’t get on really well with your flat mates, remember there are plenty of ways to make friends at university, such as through your degree course or societies. You don’t have to be best friends, but as you’re living together, it’s important to be civil and respectful to create a welcoming environment for everyone.
5. Don’t worry too much if you can’t cook! You’ll likely get to grips with cooking throughout the year. Maybe try cooking with friends as well and you can guide each other. Warwick Student Union provide a helpful selection of relatively easy, affordable and healthy recipes as part of the ‘Are You Ok?’ initiative which encourages conversation surrounding mental health*. The recipe cards are currently available to view online here: <a href="https://www.warwicksu.com/campaigning/campaigns/welfare/areyouok/recipe-cards/" target="_blank">https://www.warwicksu.com/campaigning/campaigns/welfare/areyouok/recipe-cards/</a> Alternatively, you can buy food and beverages from Rootes, the grocery store on campus.
6. There is life outside the ‘Warwick Bubble’! After a while, you’ll likely find yourself immersed in the ‘Warwick Bubble’: the security and uniqueness of campus life. However, remember not everything has to be centred around halls and campus. You could meet up with family and friends or explore Coventry, for example.
7. There’s plenty of help available if you struggle. No one would expect you to adapt to living in halls straight away, and if you do need support there are lots of people who will do their best to help you. You might want to talk to family & friends, Accommodation Services, approach Warwick Student Union for advice or the University’s Wellbeing and Support Services, for example. Information on the Wellbeing and Support Services is available here: <a href="https://warwick.ac.uk/services/supportservices/" target="_blank">https://warwick.ac.uk/services/supportservices/</a> and you can look here to learn more about the Student Union: <a href="https://www.warwicksu.com/?homepage" target="_blank">https://www.warwicksu.com/?homepage</a>
*You can find out more information about ‘Are You Ok?’ here: <a href="https://www.warwicksu.com/campaigning/campaigns/welfare/areyouok/" target="_blank">https://www.warwicksu.com/campaigning/campaigns/welfare/areyouok/</a>
I hope you found this post useful. As always, if you have any queries or comments, please feel free to leave them below.