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Living in halls: a student’s survival guide

Starting university is exciting and nerve-wracking, especially for those moving away from home. When moving into halls, you may not know anyone, and you may be living independently for the first time. Either way, nerves are normal; everybody feels this way.  

I decided to move from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne to Brighton. I had only visited Brighton once and didn’t know the area at all. So, I moved into halls for my first year; I’d be near the university, and I wouldn’t have to find flatmates in a place where I knew no one. 

Here are some tips based on my experience of living in Moulsecoomb Place and hopefully calm any anxieties you have.

Living independently at uni

Moving out of home seems incredibly daunting at first. Yes, there are many things to consider but it’s easier than you think. 

Before coming to university, I had already lived alone for 2 years. I found, however, that living in halls helped with the pressures of living independently. All your bills, except a TV license, are included in the price of your rent. You don’t have to budget for heating, electricity, water and Wi-Fi. It comes at the beginning of every term when your maintenance loan comes in. Managing your money is much easier, although you still need to consider food expenses during weekends and holidays. Rent is taken as your loan comes in, so you can see your budget exactly for the months ahead. 

Catering made my life a lot easier. You may not like every meal, but you don’t have to buy and prepare meals every day. It’s also a great bonding and social time with your flatmates and friends. 

Making friends at uni 

Mealtimes, catered or not, are a great bonding experience. For my first night in halls, we ordered takeaway and braved a game of Monopoly. The first nights in halls are very social among flats – some bond over drinks with the neighbours, some stick a movie on. Don’t be scared to strike up conversations or suggest an activity. For us, organising the kitchen was a great ice-breaker – whether picking out your cupboard or arranging a communal kitchen – everyone was gathered and then you go from there. 

In Moulsecoomb, you live in flats of 6-8 people. At some point there will be disagreements – it’s completely normal. If something is bothering you, try to keep calm. Either speak to the person directly or arrange a flat meeting. Student Residential Advisors are there to mediate and give advice on how to handle such situations. Never feel like you can’t speak out but remember that there are always two sides to the story.  

Overall, living in halls was a great experience; I have friends and memories for a lifetime, despite some ups and downs. It’s a great stepping stone from living at home to independent living. It’s an experience I’ll never forget – and isn’t as daunting as you think! 

Checkland building, Falmer campus

Word from the uni…

Since Amy wrote about her summer school experience the university has announced some changes for courses based at Eastbourne. From September 2024 all of our sport and health sciences courses will be based in Brighton at our Falmer campus. Find out more about our plans.

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accommodationindependent livingPreparing for universitystudent housingTop tipsUniversity halls

Rachel Bulman • 29th July 2020

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