Hello, and welcome to the first of my many blog posts! My name is Alix, and I study English Literature with Creative Writing at the University of Manchester. I hope you find these posts interesting and helpful- I know it seems overwhelming even to think about university but I’m hoping that this blog will make the transition seem a little less scary.
I live in Fallowfield in Ashburne Hall, which you may or may not have heard of. That’s okay. Not many people have. When I was applying to Manchester, Fallowfield meant two things: Squirrels (the bar in Fallowfield) and the slightly ominous (and extremely loud) tower. I was extremely wrong. Fallowfield is a vibrant, diverse student hub: good for those who like to party and also for those who appreciate a bit of quiet. Ashburne Hall is a good mix of both. With University accommodation, it’s often a good idea to not listen to everything you get told.
The upshot is, there are pros and cons to every University accommodation. That’s just the way it works. But, nine times out of ten, you will get accustomed to where you live, meet amazing people and most importantly, get used to living by yourself. However, I do have some tips to share with you just to make that period of adjustment just that little bit easier.
- Talk to as many people as possible.
This may seem slightly obvious, but you don’t realise how daunting it is once you’ve moved into halls for the first time, with someone in their room next to you and you’re not sure whether or not they’re an axe-murderer. The likelihood is, they’re not. Use Freshers as an opportunity to talk to everyone in your Halls, regardless if they’re in your flat or not. You won’t regret it. The girl who I mumbled to and awkwardly shook hands with on my first day is now one of my best friends. Miracles do happen.
- Make your room the new Common Room.
In Ashburne Hall, we are fortunate enough to have a common room where we can all chill out in, but in some of the larger halls you won’t have this luxury. Instead of saying farewell at the end of a great night out, make the most of even the tiniest of spaces by cramming all of your newfound friends into your room and hosting a university version of ‘Sardines’. A good movie/political debate and wine/tea optional. A surefire way to make friends- just ensure no one makes too much of a mess.
- Turn your ‘unhealthy’ Netflix habits into a weekly social gathering.
Before I came to university, I thought I would have to give up my adored TV shows and actually be ‘sociable’. Urgh. Solution? Find people who love the same shows as you, and watch them together. In Ashburne, we have Doctor Who Mondays, Downton Tuesdays and Apprentice Wednesdays. Even better: people bring tea and biscuits. So it’s the best of both worlds- I get to watch my favourite TV shows, all whilst passing for being sociable. We even had a party for the Bake Off Final. Don’t judge.
- Cook together.
Now one thing you should know about me is that I am a horrendous cook. Seriously. I even burn pasta. That is one of the main reasons I chose Ashburne- a catered Hall (and the food is actually really good- don’t listen to comparisons with school dinners). However, when lunchtimes and weekends come around, you can’t rely on the dining hall to feed you, so recruit a bunch of your best buds (a plus if they’re top chefs) and cook a meal together. You save money, and it always ends up better than if you had cooked it yourself.
- Bring a pack of cards.
This may not seem like much of a big deal, but it’s the one thing I forgot to bring to university that I really wish I had. Not only are cards great for pre-drinks parties during Freshers when you’re all sat in silence in the Common Room, but they’re also great for when in bars and pubs, or just when you’re drinking tea with your pal at 2am. Cause that happens. You might even learn some new card games. My favourites for good icebreakers are: Cheat, Irish Slap and Go Fish. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make friends when they realise how awful you are at every single card game under the planet. It makes for entertainment, at least.
You won’t ever experience anything like living in Halls at any other point in your life. Have fun, be safe, and most importantly: make the most of it!