This is Part 3 of the Fresher Guide Series. For Part 2 which focuses on Health, click here.
For Part 1 which focuses on Education, click here.
Three posts later and here we are. Hall Life; One of the most dreaded and misunderstood parts of university life. Let these words guide you: It is what you make it. If you view the experience negatively and choose to seclude yourself, then naturally you won’t have good memories from your time (day, week, year(s)) on hall. If you choose to participate, you’ll have been part of the diverse experience that is hall life. You will not be the same after this. Beware.
I won’t get to the totality of the hall experience because honestly it is a lot. What I can do is give you a sketch. As per usual, I’ll try to be semi-organized.
Choosing A Hall of Residence:-
By now, many of you will have selected a Hall on which to reside for the next academic year. This choice may have been dictated by financial considerations, tradition (your parents, uncle, aunt, next door neighbour lived on the hall), proximity to faculty of choice (I’m looking at you Med Students on Towers) or you have just used the trusty eenie-meenie-miney-mo method.
No matter where you end up, there are some things all of you (us) will have to deal with once living on hall.
(Bam, generic photo! … Seriously though, couldn’t find a photo of any local common area)
You WILL share some facilities with others. Bathrooms, kitchens, common areas, and for some …. A bedroom (dun dun dun). I mean you’ll only be sharing a space with one other person, but sharing a space with zero other persons seems SO much better. (For further reading see section on Roommates/Roomhates)
For the sake of all things holy, be courteous. Be cognizant (this post’s big word) of the fact that you are not the only person using the space and also that the cleaning staff are not your maids. Seriously, the last thing you want is to be on the cleaning staff’s bad side. They will know you and they will spite you.
Do’s and Don’ts of Communal Living
Do: Clean up after yourself
Don’t: Sweep the mess under anything thinking no one will see it.
Do: Have a discussion with your clustermates/flatmates about how the fridge will be shared and cleaned.
Don’t: Leave your food carelessly on someone else’s shelf. It can and will be eaten.
Do: Make any issues known. People tend not to realize when their actions are negatively affecting others.
Don’t: Attempt to set the person on fire in their sleep. This is illegal and you may damage university property.
Many of the dos and don’ts will be common sense, just realize that while you’re in charge of your well being, you aren’t completely living on your own.
A Word on Facilities:
Every hall has a laundry room. Tokens cost $100 (for now, I bet the price will go up in short order).
Each hall also has a study room/common room that usually has the best wi-fi on hall. Make use of them. (Free wi-fi? Priceless. For everything else there’s Mastercard)
Your hall will have inter-hall and intra-mural commitments. Don’t be a lump*.
I’m going off the assumption that I didn’t need to give that warning, as all of you will be (sometimes un-) willing participants to your hall’s activities. As demanding as they are, they do serve a purpose. One of the main reasons you’re at university is to network. Competitions are a great avenue for this.
These activities do cater to a large cross-section of people. Don’t like sports? Why not try the arts?
A word on participation: You are at university firstly to read for your degree. If you find that hall/club participation is negatively affecting your schoolwork, don’t be afraid to say no.
For those of you who live the single room lifestyle, you can skip to personal safety.
Your roommate can be your best friend, your worst enemy, a presence you ignore whenever you’re in the same space, or an acquaintance. You will not always have the choice as to which they are, as you can control no one’s behaviour.
Hack: Have a honest discussion with your roommate from you meet about your habits and preferences.
You will have to spend the better part of a year with this person, and believe me, you will have at least one moment where you contemplate beating them half-to-death. The difference between a good roommate and a bad roommate is how often they awaken these thoughts.
My theory on roommates: They provide the ultimate test in dealing with people. Sharing your space like this with someone who you (more than likely) would not have known previously increases your adaptability exponentially (big word x 2). You may not see how it pays off immediately, but it translates to how you approach life (especially to the working world).
Halls are generally safe environments, however you can never be too careful. Here are some general safety tips.
- Lock your room when you’re not in it
- Secure all valuables, especially electronics. You never know when the ‘owner’ may come for it.
- When going off hall, inform someone of your whereabouts and bring your ID with you. Without it you’re essentially anonymous to the University.
General Hall Life Wisdom:
Be kind to people. You never know when you’ll be the one in need.
“You can go broke on hall, but you’ll never go hungry.”
“Wear clean underwear.”
The further we go into the series, the more serious it will get. Look out for Part 4 for Budgeting Tips as well as a spreadsheet with rough monthly expenses. There will also be a follow up post to hall life concerning supplies, so look out for that too.
Lump n. Non-participant
There is much more that could be said and as per usual, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to contact me.
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