Life in Halls of Residence
There is no environment that more closely resembles living life in a fishbowl than life in halls of residence. These university provided rooms offer little privacy, little space and often little luxury, but maximum amounts of social time make up for all of this. If you are anticipating, or experiencing, life in halls of residence, read on for tips to making the most of your terms.
Claim Your TerritoryYou don’t need to go to the same extent that a dog might, but claiming your territory is important from the moment you enter your hall of residence. Find your room, find your bed and find your wardrobe. Spread out your luggage if you must, but make sure that from the very first day everyone you will be living with knows what is yours. This may seem greedy and aggressive, but establishing your territory from the start will save time and tears later.
Know the RulesAll halls of residence will have rules, whether they pertain to mixed sex sleepovers, alcohol and drugs or quiet hours. Find out what is and is not acceptable in your hall of residence and take note. After a few weeks you will come to realise which rules are enforced and which rules stay on the books in name only. Do yourself a favour and don’t push the limits. At least not in the first term!
Establish a SystemWhen you’ve got your territory defined and you know exactly what you can and can not get away with, establish a system by which others will know what you are doing and how you are feeling. For example, you might be a social butterfly that thrives on drop-in guests, but any distraction while you are studying can put you right off. If this is the case, you might devise a system by which you leave your door open when you are welcoming visitors, but closed and locked when you need quiet time. Other systems might include:
- Hanging a white board on your door for guests to leave messages.
- Setting an away message for electronic messages to let friends know where you are and what you are up to.
- Arranging an SOS text so roommates know when you (ahem) need privacy.
- Labelling/marking food or drink that is off limits to others.
- Clearly defining which of your clothes/shoes/electronics you are willing to share and which are off limits to anyone besides you.
Be Willing to CompromiseAbove all else, willingness to compromise will lead you to a successful life in your hall of residence. Remember that everyone who lives there has the right to live their lives as well, though their proclivities for practicing opera or the drums at 3 am may not make them many friends. If you do encounter problems with others, try talking to them about it before you make a formal complaint. If this doesn’t work, then make sure you have names, dates and examples ready before you take your case any further. Evidence and witnesses are the only ways you may be able to prove your point.
Life in halls of residence can be fun and frightening and stressful yet successful. There will always be events that are frustrating and events that are heart warming, but no matter what, it will be an experience like none other. Make the most of it, because no doubt you will look back on these days and smile. Even if it doesn’t seem like it right now!