Aside from the actual campus itself, probably the most vital element of a student’s university experience is his accommodation. Choosing one would require some substantial research on the student’s part, as there are numerous factors to consider, including its proximity to your campus, the room size and perhaps most importantly, the price you’ll have to fork out for it. Fortunately for first year King’s students, there’s an array of residence halls which have their own plus points and individual charm. The application procedures have been overhauled since my year (I feel positively ancient saying that), so I’ll just skip over that and instead share my residential experience with you.
I was fortunate enough to have been offered a room at Stamford Street Apartments, the closest King’s residence to both the Waterloo and Strand campus. Living in such close proximity of my campus meant that I could literally roll out of my bed into my lecture theatre (albeit not in my pyjamas as I doubt my lecturers would have approved of that). Probably the best perk about this is that if I had ever forgotten to take my safety goggles or assignments, all I had to do was walk 3 minutes back to grab them and still be on time. There are numerous facilities within walking distance as well, including restaurants, a gym and grocery stores.
In terms of the room itself, there’s more than sufficient space for all of your belongings – that’s if you’re not a hoarder– and there’s even a wet room and toilet attached to it. Gone are the days when you have to compete with your housemates for your precious shower time. There’s a huge study table illuminated with a lamp, but I personally preferred to revise in the Waterloo library as I was easily distracted by my bed, which I swear was pleading for me to lie on it every 30 seconds. Besides, the library is open 24/7, so if you ever feel the urge to study at 3am, there won’t be anyone stopping you. Each flat consists of 5-8 students. I stayed with a diverse group of students who came from varying backgrounds and cultures, and this proved to be an eye-opening experience especially since I had somewhat lived within a bubble previously. The occupants share a common kitchen, equipped with a fridge, oven and stoves. There’s a frequent cleaning service which will take care of the trash in the kitchen, but don’t expect anyone to clean your greasy dishes for you! There’s also a self-service laundrette strategically located at the corner of the building where you can wash, dry and iron your clothes. It utilises a card payment system, so don’t ever worry about not having enough coins for the machines.
Security at the residence is pretty tight, and there are officers manning the reception all day. If you find yourself having to make a complaint about your room or flatmates (God forbid that happens), just head down to the reception or give them a call. They’ll even receive the parcels and envelopes directed to you and will notify you promptly to collect them. If you intend to have guests staying over, just notify the receptionists beforehand and you might even get a complementary mattress! The King’s Wi-Fi network is available on all campuses and halls of residences, so you’ll always stay connected to the Internet. There’s also a common room where orientation events and fun parties are held throughout the year. Tenants are free to use it for group discussions as well. A piece of advice when planning your budget – there may be more than 4 weeks in month, so calculate your rent accordingly. An annual term should start in September and end in June, and you’re more than welcomed to leave your belongings here during the holidays.
I would highly recommend staying at a King’s residence in your first year, as dealing with landlords and bills is not exactly the easiest thing to do when you’re still new to the city. However, regardless of which halls you’re allocated to, you can rest assured that you’ll meet amazing new friends and perhaps even forge friendships that will last beyond your university days.