There is still just over a month before applications close for 2019 first year accommodation – so if you haven’t started yet, you have time!
This week I thought I’d take the time to reflect on my experience in a first-year Hall in 2018. Since Huia isn’t operating in 2019, there’s not much point to me doing a tour of the building, but I’ll offer some general advice and thoughts on what it’s been like. Plus, the building is a fairly insignificant part of the experience, it’s really the people who are the deal breakers.
By choosing to live in a Hall, you’re looking at living in a community of hundreds of other first years, almost all of which will also be living away from home for the first time – making the atmosphere pretty unique. There are definitely those you just go wild with their new found freedom and those who for who it’s really no big deal (or at least that’s how it appears). There are also those who struggle with the adjustment. To some degree, everyone will be each of these at some point.
In terms of difficulties, you will face many – it’s basically guaranteed. There will be moments where it feels like everything is falling to pieces, or where you feel alone, and all you want is to be back at home in your actual bed, with your family/pet/old friends nearby. And when that happens, reach out to your “old life” see how Mum and Dad are going, call up an old friend and chat late into the night – but also, don’t withdraw from life in the Hall. Stay engaged in what’s going on, participate in whatever is happening, and make sure you go to meals – undoubtedly meal times (well just dinner in my case) are the best time to catch up with friends in your hall and see what’s going on.
Another important thing to note is that it’s totally okay if your friends don’t end up being on your floor. Sure the Accommodation team do their best to construct floors of people they think will get along based on your answers to the application questions, but sometimes reality is just different. Some floors are utterly dead with zero atmosphere, others get along like a house on fire – and you might not realise whether you gel with the vibe of your floor immediately, it may take a few weeks. I cannot recommend highly enough getting involved in O-Week and trying to meet people from others parts of the building, you may just find “your people” are a couple of flights of stairs above or below you – no biggie.
So I’ve touched on some of the ‘realities’ of Hall life, but there are also massive benefits, besides meeting new people. The Halls have support systems in place to ensure your transition into university study is as smooth as possible; there are weekly “peer-assisted study sessions” for all the main subjects that take place within the hall, there are both regular floor, hall and even inter-residence events to build a community and provide a break from study, and finally, there is catering. The catering sure beats cooking your own dinner when you’re still trying to figure out the whole ‘living on your own’ thing.
When I was first looking at moving to Auckland, I didn’t plan on going into a first-year residence, but now, I’m pretty glad I did. It’s been an incredible experience and undoubtedly the best way to get settled into university life. So get your accommodation applications in while there is still time!