After a semester as a resident of Waiparuru Hall, personal experience and observation have taught me that the ‘dos’ are just as important as the ‘don’ts’ when it comes to day-to-day hall living. So let’s get into them!

Do set an early timer for your laundry

Unfortunately, as soon as the minutes left on a machine hit zero, some people will jump at the chance to take your washing out for you….and conveniently dump everything in the middle of the room (I have a mountain of perpetually mismatched socks for further evidence). Why they couldn’t wait an extra minute for you to come down and take care of things yourself is a mystery that Waiparuru residents have been trying to solve since the beginning of time. To prevent such an incident, I highly recommend setting a timer on your phone for five minutes shorter than the length of your washing cycle. That way (with all possible elevator delays taken into consideration) you guarantee reaching your clothes before someone else does.

Don’t let your ID card out of your sight

Strap it to your head if you must but I repeat, it should never ever leave your sight. Don’t be fooled, it may be small but it is mighty. It lets you into your exams, it’s your meal pass, and most importantly it’s the key to your room. 

You’d be surprised at how often the following scenario happens. Picture this: you’re about to leave your room. You’ve got your bag, your phone’s glued to your hand as usual, your shoes are on and you’re absolutely ready to go. Your fingers grip the cold metal of the door handle, pushing downwards. The voice inside your head whispers that there’s something you’re forgetting. Annoyed with the voice for not telling you what exactly it is that you’ve possibly forgotten, you decide to ignore it in exactly the way you would ignore your mum when she tells you that Facebook is easier to use than Instagram. Big mistake. As soon as you hear the mocking click of the door lock behind you, your brain finally does you the favour of turning on. Your eyes widen and the voice inside your head sighs indignantly. You can picture it crossing its arms, shaking its head and letting out a not-so-subtle tsk tsk. And that’s when you realise you left your precious ID card on your desk. Believe me, it is not a pleasant feeling in the best of cases. 

I thought my luck in this department was bad, but from the stories I’ve heard, things get even worse when the sinking realisation takes a bit of a lag to kick in. You don’t want to be the person who makes the journey from the shower to their door only to realise there’s something missing. Nor do you want to be the person who also forgets to bring their clothes into the bathroom with them and takes their showers at 2am when there’s no floormate around to save them from taking the walk of shame down to reception in their towel. On the flip side, you will serve as a fleeting moment of entertainment for the caffeine-powered Biomed students studying on floor zero. 

If there’s one thing you take away from this article, let this be it. And if nothing else, at least consider the fact that you get charged for every lockout after your third. 

Do take note that brunch starts at 10.30am on weekends

For my fellow early risers, this might take some getting used to. But you’ll be relieved to know that there’s a way around this. A lot of people keep extra food in the fridge (there’s one in the common room of each floor) or in their rooms, and there are about five convenience stores within walking distance of the hall in case of any emergencies. Personally, I like to keep my room stocked with things like fruit, nuts, and peanut butter which make it easy to whip something up in the mornings. 

Don’t break elevator etiquette

Please avoid using the elevator if you’re on floor 1. I know this is a controversial (and widely held) opinion, but living on floor 12, I think I’m in a pretty safe position to say that some of us benefit from the elevators more than others. Plus, the Waiparuru Instagram confessions page will attack you. Not convinced? Well, let me tell you a story: One gloomy Friday afternoon, disaster struck, leaving tower 442 with one working elevator. I had just come back from the gym, wanting nothing more than a nice shower and half an hour of peace before going to an appointment in the city. Imagine my surprise when I found ten people waiting for the elevator. I’m not kidding, after fifteen minutes, we were all still there. Then the elevator hit floor 1. Cheers flooded the room….but they gradually died down as five more minutes passed – without any sign of the elevator. Yes, you heard me correctly…five whole minutes on floor 1. And it may well have been longer because at that point I decided I would rather climb the 12 flights of stairs back up to my floor than risk being late. Not an ideal afternoon…and the next day couldn’t be described as a walk in the park either thanks to the sensation of a hundred knives stabbing each of my legs. I had guessed that while on floor 1, that elevator had disastrously broken down just like the other ones, but according to my sources, the elevator did come down from floor 1 that afternoon (funnily enough, soon after I’d sentenced myself to physical exhaustion). Two reportedly sheepish-looking people walked out into the crowd of exasperated souls….and left without a word. To this day, we can only guess at what could have possibly taken place on their floor: a lost phone? A lockout? A UFO sighting from their common room maybe?

Do get some form of exercise

A UoA gym membership is fully included in your hall fees, giving you access to a wide range of equipment and several different floor spaces. You can also book daily group fitness classes through the ‘UoA Fitness’ app. Most classes like virtual spin, pump, barre, pilates, yoga and HIIT cardio come free with your membership, so make the most of them!

If you’re short on time like me and often prefer to save the 10-minute walk to the gym, it might interest you to know that the rooms at Waiparuru are surprisingly big enough for a lot of workouts. As someone who loves a good kickboxing session, I can tell you that the space works just fine…most of the time. I’ve only accidentally kicked the wall twice and there’s only been a few confused looks from people in the opposite building (probably trying to figure out what mistake the poor wall ever made to deserve such treatment). 

I also think it’s worth mentioning the existence of the infamous hill from Waiparuru onto Symonds Street. It’s one of the two ways to get to classes (and the one leading to the best city views). So even just surviving that every morning should tick your exercise box. Don’t worry, the first time might come as a shock to the senses but after that, it’s not nearly as bad as people make it up to be.

Don’t forget about that thing called sleep

I probably don’t need to tell you that things just go better when we’re not walking around like half-asleep, half-dead beings who don’t even respond to their names anymore. Overall, I’m pretty good with this one but I will admit there was this one week last semester where I went to bed at 1.30am every night. And I cannot tell you why I still decided it was a good idea to wake up at 6 am every morning to stick to my workout schedule. What really didn’t help things is that I don’t do caffeine, so….I guess it would be an understatement to say that I quite literally became the picture of exhaustion by the end of the week. Discipline or insanity? Looking back on it now, I’d say the latter. 

Do give Earth’s Kitchen a chance

It’s arguably the most underrated food station at Waiparuru, but with deliciously delectable health-conscious dishes like ‘curried tofu scramble on ciabatta with vine-ripened tomatoes’, ‘falafel and quinoa bowls’, ‘Schezwan spiced tofu and vegetable Manchurian with vegan XO glaze’ all gracing the menu, it’s hard to see why Earth’s Kitchen is so often overlooked. More importantly, if you haven’t tried one of their signature Poke bowls (my personal favourite and an option that’s always available), you don’t know what you’re missing.

My favourite Poke bowl combo……

All in all, hall life is an experience you’re not going to forget anytime soon. So why not try to make it as enjoyable (and hopefully as pain-free) as possible? But in the end, regardless of the mistakes you make or the unexpected events you encounter, I can guarantee you’ll have a good time.

If you’ve thought of some other dos or don’ts, I’d love to hear them!