Let me take you back to September 2020; a busy time of year for little old high school Aishani. Not only was there the mounting stress of mock exams, ball dresses, and end of year festivities, but the deadline for UoA halls was fast approaching. High school had a lot of challenges for me, but for some reason, deciding where to stay in 2021 was proving the toughest one yet. All of my friends planning on making the move to Auckland were set on Waiparuru Hall. I mean, how could you not want to live there? – it’s big, it’s new, and it even has a pizza bar! Yet, with only a couple days left until applications closed, I went against the grain. I took a leap of faith, submitted my essay, and that was that. February 21st 2021, I moved into Grafton Hall.
Back when I was applying for halls, it was hard to find any information about Grafton – in a failed attempt to research, I ended up on Reddit, reading reviews from back in 2014 when the hall was an old concrete block. But it’s come a long way since then.
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably considering becoming a “Graftoner” and just like me when I was in your shoes, I bet you have a LOT of questions – ‘Is it too far?’, ‘What is it’s reputation?’, ‘If I get up at 8:45, can I make it to my 9am class?’ (the answer to that last one is yes – trust me, I’ve been in that situation one too many times). Grafton Hall is a mystery to most, hidden away in the suburbs, it’s hard to find unless you know where to look. But, in my unbiased opinion, moving there will be a decision you make and won’t regret. So, without any more fluff, let me offer you a glimpse into life across the bridge:
Grafton is one of the smaller halls at UoA with only 324 students. The advantage of this is that you get to know a lot more people – by the end of my time there, I think I knew at least one person from every floor. In my opinion, it’s the ‘homiest’ hall on campus; having the students spread across three buildings rather than one massive high rise makes it feel a lot more intimate. It would take me a long time to list all the perks of staying at Grafton. So I’ll spare you, and offer my top 3!
1. You’re stuck in the suburbs
Okay, so maybe being ‘stuck in the suburbs’ doesn’t sound so ideal at first. But trust me, if you’re not from Auckland, the city life can be overwhelming at times. I found it almost a blessing to be able to keep my university world a 10 minute walk away. Grafton is quiet and cosy, and a relaxing place to come back to at the end of the day. Not to mention, the walk home across the bridge is pretty calming – nothing beats watching the sunset across Waiparuru after a long day of lectures.
NOTE: If you’re worried about missing out on the party scene, don’t. Town is still a walkable distance so there’s no need to waste your studylink on ubers! Plus, you’re super close to K Road which is dotted with a tonne of cute little bars and restaurants.
Philson library is right around the corner
This library is tucked away in the Medical and Health Science Faculty. As it’s the main study hub for medical students, it’s super quiet and not to mention, VERY CLEAN & STERILE! By 5PM most people clear out, which means that the library is pretty much empty for the rest of the night. That’s when the Graftoner’s infiltrate the space to crack out their assignments and late night study sessions.
The Biggest Rooms on Campus !
Grafton rooms are the biggest on campus. This gives you the freedom to rearrange the furniture any way you like it. Half of my floor probably had a couch in their room, because there was honestly soooo much space to fill! Another perk were the ceiling fans which keep you cool in that Auckland heat. Each floor has 1-2 study rooms (one with desks for more rigorous study, and the other with couches for chill study). For me, the biggest plus was the bathroom situation – there are around 8 per floor, each with its own shower, sink and toilet. Having a space like this means you can avoid those awkward pre or post-shower encounters with your floor mates!).
To summarise, regardless of where you live or what you study, almost every UoA student ventures to Grafton at some point during their first year. Maybe you’ll make the trip as a pre med student en route to your MEDSCI142 lab (or if you’re anything like me – a Jurassic Park fan – you’ll trek over to Grafton to go stare at the t-rex for a couple of hours in Auckland museum).
But I highly recommend not letting Grafton be just a passing through kind of place. Instead, make it your home! Take a leap of faith and tackle your first year across the bridge … I promise, you won’t regret it 🙂