I’ve been living in Plas Gwyn halls of residence for 4 years – yes you read that right, not 1 but 4 years! I’m a senior warden, so I’ve been able to stay on longer than most, right from my foundation into third year, which I’m in now.
When it comes to living in halls, as you can imagine I have seen it all! My role has changed throughout the years too, from fresher to student warden to senior warden – although this doesn’t stop getting involved in student life and I’m always up for socialising.
I have loved my time in halls, met some amazing people, and created some lasting memories – and I’ve also learned a few things:
1. It’s fine to be worried/scared
Freshers always think that missing home is a weakness and that they are the only ones who do. This is not at all true – in fact almost everyone on site will be thinking and feeling the same even if they don’t admit it. Moving away from home is a daunting thing, but everyone is in the same boat which makes it a lot easier. And there is so much support within the university you’ll have no need to feel lonely, worried, or frightened.
2. Make the most of Fresher’s Week
Live this week to the full, as this is the time you start building bridges, bonding and making friends – sometimes lifelong friends. For most people this does mean going out and experiencing the night life, making the most of the fancy dress nights and pub crawls etc, but remember it’s not all about drinking – there are loads of opportunities to have a great time, especially with the Met Res Life programme – this is a scheme to help first year students have a great time at uni without having to drink. You can get discounted rates on tickets to football, rugby, ice hockey and boxing matches, plus there’s bowling, ice skating, Christmas markets, cinema and theatre trips and more throughout the year.
3. Your flatmates become like family
By the end of the first day, the most important people you get to know at uni will be your flatmates. You’ll either get on great and end up moving into a house with them in second year, or you’ll be counting down the days when you can get rid of them! Either way, the uni memories you’ll look back on start with none-other than these people. You’ll experience everything together – birthdays, Christmas, finishing assignments, St Paddy’s day, anything really. By the end of first year, the bond will be unreal and it will feel like you have lived together for more than just the 9 months you’ll be there. Cherish these moments and you’ll have the best time.
4. Money is going to be tight
Just face if now, money is something that you’re not going to have for the next 3 years. You will be like an absolute baller when the loan instalments are paid into your bank – until you pay that term’s rent. Then you’ll be back to eating pasta, beans, rice and anything cheap – there are times when you’ll end up eating stuff that makes you feel as if you’re participating in “I’m a Celeb”!
Again though, everyone else is in the same position, and the magic words ‘but I’m a student’ will get you out of spending money on things you can’t afford!
5. Cardiff is a great place to live
If you’re anything like me, once you’re here you will not want to leave. Don’t be shy, embrace the Welsh spirit – and that’s coming from an Englishman!
Rugby days are the best, from the Autumn Internationals to 6-Nations. The city is vibrant and the atmosphere is second to none. If you want to do something it will be there, and the people are so friendly.
I see Cardiff almost as “London Lite” – you’ve got everything you could want from a major city, but it’s much less hectic. Plus there’s so much around and just outside the city, such as Pen-Y-Fan, the Brecon waterfall trail, Barry island… so many different things.
Overall, I’ve learned it’s important to enjoy your time in halls, as you have hundreds of people around you and it can be an unforgettable experience. Join in the banter, party, socialise, and remember there are always people there on site to support you – whether it’s the wardens like me or the office staff.
All you need to do is get out there and create memories and make friends for life!
Accommodation applications for 2017 entry are open – apply for your place now. Want to know more about living in halls here? Check out our Life in Halls video: