Olivia Cooke offers some encouraging words of advice to new students living in halls.
Term has started again, and a new cohort of students has arrived in Bristol. Starting university can be one of the most paradoxical experiences you ever have. Free from the constraints of parents, university promises an endless amount of exciting opportunities for a new student. From developing intellectual pursuits to embarking on consecutive all-night raves, a fresher can find themselves enraptured in a hedonistic experience of studying and partying to the full. However, the start of this defining chapter in life also brings an incredible amount of challenges.
‘The realisation of having to venture outside the safe and cosy confines of my room seemed daunting.’
Moving into halls is a defining experience whilst at university. I remember the cold, icy panic which settled in my stomach as I approached Stoke Bishop for the very first time. A million questions rushed through my head: ‘Will I enjoy my course?’, ‘How do I make sure I don’t get lost around campus?’, and the most disquieting of all, ‘Will I make any friends?’ As I said tearful goodbyes to my parents, the realisation of having to venture outside the safe and cosy confines of my room seemed daunting.
Looking back at my time in halls, the best piece of advice I can give to new students is to push past your comfort zone when it comes to those first interactions with the people living in your halls. Although it may seem like the most awkward and uncomfortable social cue, introducing yourself to flatmates or corridor neighbours metaphorically (and literally), opens up doors to friendships. Offering a cup of tea and leaving your room door propped open, are guaranteed ways to strike up a conversation and break the ice with your neighbours or flatmates.
‘Push past your comfort zone when it comes to those first interactions.’
Making an effort to integrate yourself as part of a student community in halls, does significantly enhance your experience at university. Halls can be conduits where in which you can seek out opportunities from the academic, to social, or creative. From the imposing structure of the outdoor gym, the pool table in the JCR bar, and the theatre in the common room, I urge any student living in halls to utilise all facilities that your accommodation can provide. Not only can you get your money’s worth in rental fees and satisfy your desire to play Hamlet in an am-dram production, but you also can help develop those friendships which may last after your graduation from Bristol.
Moving away from home is hard. Harder still are those first few weeks settling in to university. It can sometimes seem near impossible as a first-year to negotiate between the worlds of studying, partying, budgeting, and learning to be an adult. Love or loathe them, halls form a formative part in your first year at university. The friends made in halls could be the friends that you end up sharing a house with in second year. Crucially though, halls enable students to set up strong academic and social links within the wider student community of Bristol. So, to those students having just moved into halls, I wish you all the best of luck for the year ahead and to embrace any opportunity, big or small, that may come your way living in halls. You never know, it may just change your life.
Are you a fresher who has just moved into halls? Get in touch, and share your experiences with Epigram.