It’s been awhile since I’ve had a post up– I didn’t just up and vanish, though! I’ll be back in the regular swing of things again and have heaps to share very soon, info on halls, general thoughts and the wonders of Auckland. The crazy period of semester is yet to begin but the work is definitely piling up.

Applications for first year halls of residence opened at the start of the month and I know that University Hall and O’Rorke are common halls where people may have a tough time choosing between. I thought a visual comparison and general overview of the halls from my perspective might help a bit.

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Uni Hall is where I’m staying this year, a modern, bright orange, high rise building and O’Rorke is on the right, brimming with history and character and a bit more spacious-feeling.

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UH reception area– looks like my floor is coming 5th… On the right is a view you’ll get every trip to uni. If you’re looking at going to Elam for Fine Arts, it is right outside the door of UH. Architecture is also closest to UH. The distance from O’Rorke and UH to the majority of campus is pretty comparable.

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Here’s a view of O’Rorke– the cool thing is they have balconies. A balcony in the common room and the bigger bedrooms have balconies, but they are also more expensive. On the right is a BBQ area and in the background you can see UH to add some awesomeness to the view.

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This is the 9th floor common area of UH with the two elevators either side and a collection of (very livable…) furniture. If you look over to that grid of photos on the other wall that is our “Selfie Wall of Shame”, you bet I feature a few times! Hiding just outside the frame of the photo is the TV on the left and kitchenette on the right.

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I do have to say that O’Rorke wins out the elevator game by a long shot.

It’ll be the first week and no matter what floor you’re on, you’ll be determined to use the stairs. You quickly realise that you’re not about that life and will tell yourself, “just once a day.” It is now week two and the stairs are no longer an option. Just wait for the elevator, folks. Unless you live on floors 2-5, in that case you start to feel vibes from every other floor 6+ resident if you dare to press one of those buttons, ‘ya know?

O’Rorke has three elevators– thanks to my O’Rorke guide, and friend (I guess), Bronte for holding the elevator! This is 4th floor’s common room with a sleepy resident j chillin’.

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Each floor at UH has a dedicated study pod, perfect for studying in small groups and the big whiteboards are always handy. I’ve heard some quizzes being aced in that room recently… There is also a silent study room on floor 1 which is perfect if you can’t study in your room and just need somewhere else to get into it.

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O’Rorke’s study area and a photo of vending machines cause you gotta be aware of these dangerous things. Just watch them drain your bank account when you’re most vulnerable.

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The dining rooms: cause food is life. Both halls are fully catered for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food is the same across halls unless you decide to live in a self-catered hall, such as Huia. Honestly, food was better than expected– especially considering both my parents are chefs– but just due to the nature of catering, it can be pretty hit and miss. You’ll miss home cooked meals soon enough, though!

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Probably the biggest difference between halls is how rooms work. The top two is UH, there are two corridors on either side of the common room and four shared bathrooms on the floor. At O’Rorke, floors are split into pods. Where there are 5-7 rooms per pod that share a bathroom and around 6 pods per floor. Shout out to Michael who let me take a photo of his room (after he made his bed). Rooms really just come down to preference. The two rooms shown are the same cost– at O’Rorke you can get a bigger room with a balcony which costs more. The UH rooms are definitely bigger than the comparable O’Rorke room and are more modern. O’Rorke rooms are smaller, but I guess they can feel a bit more ‘homely.’

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The UH lounge and games room both on level 1. The lounge is great as it’s a versatile space, we have mentoring in the lounge often and if there’s a game on, you can bet it’ll be shown on the massive TV (on the other wall on the right) with surround sound and the lights turned down to make it an event. Games room– air hockey, pool, tv and a dancefloor around the corner (well, I like to think so anyway).

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O’Rorke’s sky lounge and games room. Chill times to be had here too.

There are laundry areas of course, the use of them is all included and there are also music rooms/areas in both halls for all the future music majors. It can certainly feel strange living in a hall with a few hundred others and being in such a communal space for the academic year, but it is certainly a whole lot of FUN.

Halls? Questions? Let me know! Comment below! (Cringy rhymes for the win)

– Bryan