I can’t help but feel rather grateful to have escaped life from University halls.
It did have its advantages – meeting new people was easy and sneaking a third portion of chocolate cake was always great; but living in an institution didn’t suit me one bit.
The fact that I don’t like clubbing probably had something to do with it. When the vast majority of your block relishes the opportunity to go out every night, how much sleep you get is not really up to you. It doesn’t matter if you’re deathly ill or have an early start: if the lads outside your window want to use a bin as a bongo drum at 3am, you just have to roll with it. Hall life is perfect if you love the idea of getting lost in a mass of hedonistic students for a year, but for an introvert it can be a tad tiresome. The big lump of money you pay for accommodation does liberate you from the need to cook or clean, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Having to queue up at a designated time for an overcooked curry can get very old. My cooking may not be much better, but at least I can choose when I eat my plate of stodge.
Living in a house enables you to feel like a proper, fully fledged individual. Nobody manages the way you live your life – if you want to eat nothing but Jaffa Cakes or see how filthy your room can get, you can. My favourite aspect of living in a student house however, is that you’ve actually chosen the people that you see on a day-to-day basis. House parties, spontaneous games of Monopoly, having cups of tea made for you – these are all things far more likely to happen when you share a space with some friends.
I’m glad I lived in halls for a year, it’s the best possible way to meet people and it helps smooth the potentially jarring process of leaving home. Still, I don’t miss it one bit. I might be living in squalor and suffer from acute malnutrition, but at least I don’t have to talk to people I don’t know.