The first month living in Whitaker Hall has just flown by. Everything has been running pretty smoothly; I’ve been handing all my assignments in on time, I haven’t been overwhelmed by my workload, and I’m also managing to have a social life! I’ve learnt that the food is nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be (though it still can’t compare to home), the hot chocolates from the coffee machines are the perfect thing to brighten your mood on a rainy day, and there is always a friendly face to talk to when you need a study break.
However, I have learnt some lessons the hard way…
- Don’t leave your bowl and spoon out to dry in the common room, otherwise it will be used by someone to have late night noodles and not get washed (gotta love day-old noodles and sauce)
- Always check the expiry date on your milk BEFORE you buy it, so you don’t end up disappointed when you realise its ‘best before’ date was 5 days before
- Don’t try and wear your brand new shoes to lectures before you’ve broken them in, otherwise you end up with blisters on your heels and a very painful walk home
Something else I’ve realised in my first month living away from home is that you are in charge of yourself; no one is running around after you, telling you that you need to go to class and do your homework. This may sound appealing to those of you still at school, and for the first week of university, it was a nice change, but then reality sets in.
First of all, so much money goes towards stuff you didn’t realise you needed. And no, I’m not talking about when you see a cute jumper or a cool pair of shoes and go, “I need this in my life!” I’m talking about really boring, mundane things like extension cords, clothes pegs, and laundry powder. I guess it goes to show that I took all of those things for granted at home; I never had to think about buying those items because they were always there where I needed them (thanks Mum and Dad!).
Another thing is chores and errands. There is no one bugging you about making your bed, vacuuming your room and doing your washing. I thought this was the best thing in the world! But the novelty wore off within the first week; it takes way longer to clean up a messy room than to keep it tidy in the first place.
And last, but certainly not least, you don’t have food available to you every moment of the day. There are very specific mealtimes at Whitaker (and I’m sure it’s similar for other Halls of Residence):
- Breakfast: 7.15 – 9.00
- Lunch: 12.00 – 1.30
- Dinner: 5.30 – 7.00
If you don’t eat during those times and you haven’t organised a packed lunch or late dinner if you can’t make those meal times, you will end up being a very hungry hippo. There is also a rule against smuggling food out of the dining hall, but I’ve seen people successfully smuggle all sorts of things out, so I’m sure if you’re really desperate, you can always go down that route!
I’ll leave you with a few pearls of wisdom that I have found helped me deal with these new adjustments:
- Keep your crockery and cutlery in your room so random people don’t use it
- Make a shopping list of things you need so you don’t waste money buying unnecessary items
- Don’t go to the supermarket when you’re hungry (that never ends well)
- Create a routine and try stick to it – for example, I do my washing on the same day every week, I clean up my desk every few days, and I vacuum once a week
- Change your sheets and towels every week, otherwise it just gets yucky and unhygienic
- Buy a whole bunch of snacks to keep in your room – this will help stave off hunger during meal times and keep your energy levels up during lectures and study periods
Anyway, I better stop using this blog post as a way to avoid my adult responsibilities and get back to studying!
Until next time – Emily