Living in halls at university; is it the right choice?

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!


21 thoughts on “Living in halls at university; is it the right choice?

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  1. i’m sorry dorm life ended up not being so great for you, that really sucks!

    interestingly enough, my university dorm experience was on the opposite end of the spectrum–my dorm experience was one of the *only* bright spots of my university experience. that being said, i also lived in a “residential college,” which is a dorm that accepts residents based on a certain “theme” or “trait.” for instance, there was a theater res college (for theater students), a freshman res college (for freshmen only), a music res college (for music students), and an all-women’s res college (which only accepted women), to name just a few. my res college was focused around STEM majors, and generally only had 2 or 3 non-STEM majors living there (who usually had STEM minors or a strong interest in STEM even if they weren’t studying it). res colleges, unlike dorms, put on a ton of dorm events that you were semi-required to go to (but they were all fun things like daces, crafts nights, movie nights, and quirky events that fit the res college’s particular theme–for instance, mine often did events involving interactive logic puzzles, cause we were nerdy like that lol). of all the res colleges, mine was the strictest about requiring you to attend events because it also happened to be the res college that got the most applications for residence. we were also known to be the on-campus residence that was the closest-knit–and that proved to be really true. everyone in my dorm (there was about 150 residents total) knew each other and we were all good friends. because we were all STEM majors, we often had classes together and so we often formed study groups within the res college. also, because we were STEM majors and the CAs and res college supervisors knew we had a sh*t ton of work, we had “quiet hours.”

    anyhow, this is all to say that most (american) universities generally have res colleges (though i don’t know about international universities) and finding one that fits your interest(s) might help if you can’t get an off-campus apartment. sometimes it helps to be surrounded by like-minded people, or at least people with similar lifestyles, just for the sake of having people who have a better grasp on what you’re going though and/or what you need, without you having to go in-depth to explain it. otherwise, if you can manage, there’s always off-campus housing (although, that can come with its own set of pains).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s SUCH a good idea, I love that! My uni was quite small, so only 50 per hall, and not really enough to separate it like that. But I really love that idea, it would be so good to choose what sort of people you want to be around. Especially with courses like that, it would make classes way less intimidating.
      I’m in a flat/apartment with some friends now, which is really good, but they aren’t at the same uni as me. I wish we had a system like yours though, it sounds a lot better 🙂


      1. Italy. We don’t have dorms or even a campus. Just random buildings in which classes take place. If I wanted to live there, I would have to get a proper apartment and pay a huge amount of money… so I’m forced to commute. 1 hour to get there and 1 hour to come back. It’s sure stressing

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ahh, that’s so frustrating! It’s got me super interested in going to Italy though, that would be so interesting. I went to a whole new town, so it must be annoying for them as well, being forced to pay for that!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Dorms can definitely be a challenge. (I’m an American by the way, so my experience was at an American college.) My first year in the dorm was a challenge. I had a roommate and the whole floor shared one bathroom. However, I was going to school too far from home to live there, and I also didn’t yet have my license, making living off campus essentially impossible.

    At the end of my freshman year, I told my parents that I knew that a single dorm was more expensive but that I absolutely could not live with a roommate again without sacrificing my mental health. They agreed. I did share a bathroom with another girl and then a living space and bathroom with another roommate the two years after that, but having my own bedroom made a world of difference. When things got to be too much, I had an escape from everyone else.

    There were still definitely downsides, like the noise (especially late Friday nights/early Saturday mornings), but I was able to handle it at that point.

    The best part of the dorms for me was definitely how close I was to my classes, the library, etc. My school was small, so nothing more more than a five minute walk away. I would finish classes for the day, start on my homework, realize I needed to speak to a professor, and could get to their office in several minutes before they’d left work for the day. Living off campus, I probably would have had to settle for an email.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s one thing I’m definitely really thankful for, we don’t have roommates here. I can definitely see why it was so difficult for you, I’d be the same! Sharing a bathroom is a lot easier, like you said, it’s having that space to escape that’s essential.
      And living on campus is definitely a huge benefit! I changed cities, so I didn’t really have a choice. But it’s so nice to have everything right there, and not having to stress about getting to and from classes


  3. This was an interesting read! I lived in private halls in my first year unlike most of my friends and it was very quiet. For the first few months I hated this and felt lonely, always wanting to be out with friends! But in my second semester I was honestly grateful to have my own space and peace of mind, having the choice to see my friends whenever I wanted to!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s really interesting! I think it’s good that you had your own space, but I can definitely see how itd be hard to start with, especially when you don’t know many people


  4. I didn’t love it…..but I don’t regret it. Made me feel like I was part of something for a while. Just wish I had gotten a better group of people. Now I live in share-houses with randoms and its not the same. Although it is quieter!

    Liked by 1 person

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