university life freshers moving in getting settled moving out

Halls, Flatmates and Moving Out!| Settling Into University Life

For anyone about to start University, chances are that in about a month you’ll be moving to a new city, living with strangers, and probably away from home for the first time. Everyone who moves away to University will have a different experience, but I wanted to cover some general points, and talk a bit about my own experience as well. This is also mostly based on the assumption you’ll be living in halls, but will hopefully be a bit applicable if you’re going into private housing as well!

My first piece of advice is to look and see if your University has any groups for Offer Holders/Freshers that you can join. Not all have official Facebook groups, but some do. These are a great way to ask if anyone else is living in your block, and you might even find flatmates using this! Having the chance to chat a little before you live together can alleviate a lot of stress.

The next thing to do before you move in is to check what is provided in your accommodation, and make a list of things you need to take with you. As a general rule, most halls will provide furniture and some electrical appliances, but no linens, cooking equipment or things like lamps. You’ll probably need bedding, towels, pans, crockery, cutlery and cleaning products, as well as all your personal items. You can obviously buy some of these things when you arrive to save on packing space, because that’s something else you have to think about! Most students go home at least a couple of times a year, so think about packing for the seasons, and swap out clothes and things like books when you visit home to make sure you’re not unnecessarily taking up loads of space in what will probably be a small bedroom.

Once you’re happy with your list of items to take, it might be time to start shopping for anything you need to get but want to buy before you leave! This was a really fun part of the process for me. I had all my kitchen stuff already as I was using my Dad’s old set of pans and kitchenware, but I needed some new bits like bedding and laundry basket, and I also treated myself to a few little decoration pieces to make the room feel more like me. Obviously this is an additional expense, and not necessary — you can always take stuff you already have to make the room feel more cozy, but it’s a nice way to celebrate your new beginning if you want to! Things like photographs of family and home friends (practically every student room has a pin board) and fairy lights are classic and inexpensive ways to make a room feel more personal.

moving in university life

When it comes to packing, it will make your life a lot easier if you label boxes (eg kitchen, decor, bathroom) and also label important boxes like your bedding and clothing. When you arrive, you probably won’t want to unpack everything straight away, so make sure the things you’ll need for your first night are close to hand so you’re not digging through endless boxes looking for those pillowcases. Of course, it’s best to unpack within the first couple of days so you settle in a bit quicker and don’t feel like you’re living out of boxes, but it can definitely be too much for one already emotionally challenging day!

Once you’ve arrived, it’s also time to meet your flatmates, so that’s another reason you might not want to unpack everything on your first day! Many people go out to a restaurant with their families on the first night in halls, so it might not be the time for your first flat dinner, but try to introduce yourself to everyone, and maybe have a little flat get together when you’re all back from dinner!

The final thing I want to talk about is not the nicest of outcomes, but it’s a possibility that you might not get on with your flatmates. Before you move in, for your peace of mind I would advise making sure you’re familiar with the support systems your University has in place if you have any issues with your flatmates and for that matter, if you have any issues with the room/flat itself! In the majority of cases, not getting on with your flatmates isn’t much of an issue. Most people stay mature and if you don’t get on you just don’t go out of your way to hang out or interact etc. If you have issues of your flatmates being inappropriate, rude or affecting your wellbeing, that’s the time to escalate it to your University support systems. This is definitely a very small minority of cases, though, and mostly if you don’t get on with them it’s just that they aren’t your people. If they aren’t your kind of people then don’t despair! There are so many ways to make friends at University and flatmates are just one of them. You’ll meet coursemates pretty early on, and there are always loads of societies for you to join and meet people with similar interests.

Ultimately, as long as you know what you need to take with you when you move, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to force yourself to be best friends with your flatmates, moving in should be more exciting than stressful! Know that your University, family and friends are all there to support you in your transition, and should you need any advice or support there are always places to turn to, even if you want to ask a question that seems really silly, it’s better to reach out and ask than to be worrying in silence.

11 thoughts on “Halls, Flatmates and Moving Out!| Settling Into University Life

  1. God, I hated my sophomore year dorm roommate. had to get moved because it was so bad. also later really getting to know someone before you become roommates is so important! I found a roommate my final year and it was perfect!

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    • Yes I totally agree about knowing people before you commit when you can choose who you live with! The UK doesn’t really do roommates, it’s just flatmates/housemates. In my 2nd & 3rd years I lived in a house with a group of girls I met through my course and it was lovely!

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  2. Great post Ellie!
    I got on really well with my flatmates at Uni luckily 🙂 I went for a meal with my family on my first night, and then went back to my flat and was invited to a huge party, which of course I went to, haha!
    The thing nobody warns you about is FRESHERS FLU! The inevitable flu that everyone ends up with a week or 2 after moving in, usually caused by way too much drinking and partying… oh wow, it killed me for about a week, hahaha!

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  3. What got me with my uni (I was at Lancaster Uni) is that within a few months after starting first year, the student housing was pushing us to start looking for second year accommodation and who we’d live with. As someone who doesn’t take to people easily I was little put out that I either had to find new housemates or just live with my first-year flatmates again. I got on okay with my first-year flatmates so that’s what I did but I realised after the first term of second year that that was a big mistake. I honestly wish I’d asked to move back onto campus, but I toughed it out thinking things would improve a little. Thankfully after taking a year out abroad, I came back to live with two friends from my friendship group who’d done the same as me (we all studied languages) and it was so much better because we knew each other more and had similar passions/interests. It’s these things that you learn at university!

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    • Definitely! At my university the accommodation for second and third year gets put on the market really quick, so usually everyone is sorted by Christmas, which means deciding who you want to live with like halfway through term 1 so you get it sorted fast and get a decent place! Pretty scary stuff but I was lucky as I’d made friends with coursemates on Facebook before I started and we got on great in person so we had a little group together from the off, but it really is a big decision to make after knowing people for a couple of months!

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    • Good luck! I found it definitely wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be 😂 I have a couple more advice posts coming up that will hopefully help you feel a bit more prepared!

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