My first year of university was, well, not the best (read the saga here). For me, a huge part of that was the experience of living in halls, and not having any space from a toxic group of friends (including them not having space from me). And I’ve talked to people, without going in depth, about why I left that university, and so many people are completely unsurprised. Because halls suck, right? Living in a place with 50 people, sharing bathrooms, a kitchen, not ever being able to go to a place that’s completely quiet? I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, but I wanted to make sure I was as un-biased as I could be. With that, let’s run through the pros and cons, based off my experience with it!
You don’t have your own space. Sure, you have your room, but, at least for me, I found that there was a constant flow of people going in and out of each other’s rooms. I wound wander to another room just to borrow a pen, and leave two hours later. But, while this is the worst when you have study to do, it can be a load of fun as well. There’s nothing better than having five people crammed on a bed watching a movie and eating pizza you got delivered. So, this is something that’s super dependent on who you are! I loved it for most of the year, but man oh man it really emphasized my loneliness by the end of it.
There’s a whole lot of noise. Again, this is really dependent on who you are, but it was the main thing I hated. People go out all the time. I’m talking Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, at the very least. Personally, I’m never very keen to go out to town, and although I went occassionally, I was more likely to be spending the night chilling in my room, and getting woken up at 2am when the bus dropped them all off. If you’re one of the types of people that wants to go out and drink all the time, though, it’s perfect! There’s no shortage of people who are keen to go out with you.
It’s easier to make friends, more difficult to lose them. I really don’t know how people manage to make good groups of friends just through lectures, because I only had one or two that I talked to, and no one I hung out with outside of class. In the hall, though, I was put with a whole heap of people that were also hoping to make friends, and we did so much together as a hall that you’re bound to meet someone. And although I complain a lot, I really did love those people, with all my heart, and we have so many good memories together. The issue was, though, that we lived what felt like years of friendship in just a few months. We became the best of friends, and had more drama than I’ve had with other friends I’ve been close with for a good six years. Almost everyone I talked to in the hall had some sort of drama, and while I’ll never say something like that is inevitable, it certainly is a lot harder to avoid.
They look after you, which is helpful if you’re in a new city, like I was. “They” (being the people that run the hall) make sure that you’re happy, and it was definitely good to have people there that I knew I could ask all sorts of questions when I needed to. It’s also just a good stepping stone, rather than going straight from having parents looking after everything for you, to being completely on your own. I had some meals catered for me, but made my own breakfast, and it’s those sorts of in-between steps that really helped me. I think it made moving into a flat a lot easier to deal with! But if you think you’re quite an independent person, I wouldn’t recommend it. It can get sort of smothering, if that’s not what you’re used to.
Obviously, there’s no set list of things I can give you to say whether or not halls are 100% right for you. I found parts of it amazing, and parts of it horrible, and I think that’s true of most people. But I definitely think some people feel they have to do it, which isn’t true at all! There’s always people looking for a person to move into a spare room, so don’t feel like halls are your only option.
What were your thoughts on the hall life? Or are you looking at moving in this year? Let me know how it fit (or didn’t fitz) you!