In short, yes. There are a whole range of benefits to living in halls for first year, especially if your alternative option is living at home.
Despite living in halls not being strictly necessary – you can save a bit of cash staying at home and commuting to university if you live nearby – it really does become a vital part of the student experience. Almost every student you ask would say that halls are a necessary part of first year, even if they didn’t have the *ahem* perfect time in them because of flatmates. So, here are the three key reasons why I think living in halls is a necessary part of first year.
And I don’t just mean of the drinking variety (although it’s helpful for that too!). Moving to university or even studying at university is a massive step in a person’s life, so being surrounded by people making the same change is incredibly helpful. Everyone’s a bit nervous and everyone’s going to have bad days, however, you have your very own support system in halls that you can’t really get just through seeing people on a course basis. And yes, it does help to be able to go home with a group of people you trust after a night out (aka no angry parental glares the next morning as you get up at 1pm feeling like death).
This is particularly key if you end up in self-catered halls. Suddenly you’re faced with the responsibility of having to make and change your own bed sheets, cook dinner and even wash up (something my third-year housemates haven’t quite got the hang of, but I’m working on it). However, although you’re faced with new responsibilities, halls work as a kind of halfway house between home and the “real world” of private renting. So, when it comes to moving out of home officially, you’re much better equipped. Even if you do still need to call your mum occasionally to ask her how to fill a hot water bottle.
Finally, living in halls gives you your first completely independent space. There comes a time when you neither need, nor want your parents invading your room to see how you’re doing every five minutes. Halls offer peace of mind, stability, study space and most importantly a chance to finally meet people who exactly understand what you’re going through.
Do you think students should live in university halls in their first year? Why, or why not? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo: Jason James / Flickr