Catered halls can be a different experience for everyone. For the lazy type who buys baked beans and pasta and nothing else, it’s great as they get to eat REAL food. For the gym freak, it’s a hindrance, tempting them with chips, curries and other ‘bad’ foods when all they want to do is hit their protein intake for the day!
During my first year when I was living on campus at Cyncoed, it was useful. I can cook, but honestly, being in catered halls meant that I could quickly pop out to get some food and carry on with work during the busy essay-writing times (the canteen, K1, had a really convenient take-away service).
It also saved me some money, as it worked out as only £30 odd a week for 2 meals a day! I know I will definitely be spending more than that a week during my second year.
If you can’t decide whether to apply for catered accommodation or not, here are my tips on how to choose:
- If you are an awful cook, go for it! The food is pretty good and you will survive rather than having to order Dominos every day and spending huge amounts of money!
- If you are vegetarian or vegan, I would say self-catered may be a better route for you; the canteen does provide options for you, but they’ll be more limited than those for the meat-eaters.
- If you’re keen to learn how to cook, I wouldn’t apply for catered accommodation. You’ll end up not cooking for yourself and just popping down to the canteen for food, because it is so much easier!
- But, you know what, if you are the type who just needs a little helping hand on their first year away from home (there’s no shame in it!), then go for the catered halls. It makes ‘being an adult’ a lot easier and less daunting!
If you do decide to go catered there are lots of benefits. It’s very sociable – it’s great fun going to eat with all your friends and catching up on the day.
Another great feature of the catered canteen is the flexibility of the meal time hours. Something my friends and I used to do was go to our 9am Media lecture and then ‘treat’ ourselves to a cooked breakfast afterwards, as breakfast was open from 7-10:30am. Always something to look forward to after an early start!
It’s obviously down to you, but I truly did benefit from catered accommodation. Now who’s ready for some good food?
Looking for more tips on dealing with first year at uni? Browse our other Fresher’s Guides. You can also check out what sports students Chloe and Lucy thought of Cyncoed Halls in first year below: