When preparing to start university, one of the biggest decisions can be whether to stay at home or live in university residences. As an international student, that question was practically answered for me with KCL accommodation on offer. So, I’m sharing my experience living in student residences and some of the factors to consider/keep in mind before moving in!
During my first year, I lived in a cute little room in Stratford halls (formally know as Stratford One for me, now called Angel Lane), located next to the station. I shared my flat with eight other flatmates, where we dealt with the everyday joys and struggles of figuring out the adult life, and, most importantly, how to keep a kitchen clean! Living in student residences was a really important push for me in terms of growing as a person and becoming independent. It involved challenges like figuring out everyday housekeeping chores, being responsible for my own routine and schedule, and of course, the student dread of learning how to cook. Yes, our parents were right, vegetables are an incredibly important part of our diet and as a student with the freedom to eat ice cream at 3am whenever I wanted, I had to learn that the hard way!
It was definitely an amazing experience, but it did not come without its ups and downs. It was really interesting in terms of getting to know myself and learning how I thrive and how to organise myself. Living surrounded by students who are sharing your interests and experiences is so exciting. Every occasion is an excuse to hang out, even doing the laundry! Which is super cool since you get to meet people from all over the world with different cultures and backgrounds which bring so much to the table. Especially in a situation like this, where everyone is going through a transition phase and trying to figure their lives out, it really pushes people together and helps you really bond with the people you’re living with. It definitely became distracting at times, balancing your work and social life can be quite tricky when there’s always someone around for a chat.
One of the things that I found quite challenging was pushing through moments of homesickness. Moving from living with your parents to being completely independent can have its lonely moments for sure, but you’re surrounded by hundreds of other people going through the exact same thing, so someone always has your back with a cuppa tea when you need some moral support!
If there were three things I wish someone had told me before moving into student residence, they would be:
- In the months leading up to university, pick up some pots and pans and learn some student-friendly recipes! It can be so easy to get caught in the hype and excitement of it all, and the first few months can be a lot easier if you are feeding yourself properly and healthily.
- Skype is your best friend! You’re going to be meeting some amazing people and making new friends, but don’t forget those back at home! Try to schedule periodic calls with your parents or friends from home to keep them updated, it will also help you cope with the newness of it all.
- No one knows what they’re doing! It can be quite daunting to move in on your own, and at times it may just seem like everything is a complete mess, but you’ll thank yourself later for the experience. Everyone is on the same confused boat trying to figure out adult life, so might as well have a blast while you’re doing it!
And that’s it from me, my residence experience in a nutshell. Residences can be one of the most memorable parts of university, so make sure to take the opportunity to learn how you thrive!