Why Student Halls Weren’t For Me

student halls

As my third year of uni is fast approaching, I thought it would be nice to reflect on this time two years ago. I was packing up all my stuff and preparing to move down to Glasgow on my own.

I was terrified, but I was definitely excited too! Like many students, my plan was to live in student halls for my first year. I definitely couldn’t afford to rent privately, and I thought halls would be a good social experience.

Halls are amazing!

It’s the best part of your university experience.

You’ll make friends for life!

These were all things I heard a million times before moving, so I guess you could say I had high hopes. To cut a long story short, I was left feeling pretty disappointed…

Before I go into it, this has nothing to do with my flatmates. They were all lovely, but personally I didn’t enjoy my time living in halls.

It wasn’t easy to to go from the comfort of home to living with strangers in a new city. I knew it would take some time to adjust, but unfortunately it felt like I never really settled in…

student halls

Here is why student halls weren’t for me…

I had to eat, sleep, study and relax in the same small room. My student accommodation had a kitchen, one toilet, two small showers and our bedrooms. It sounds so silly, but I really missed having a living room… Having no shared communal space meant that 99% of my time was spent in my bedroom and I felt quite trapped.

I’m a huge introvert, but I was lonely. Spending lots of times with people wears me out, so I wasn’t up for going out and drinking every single night. As a result I probably didn’t bond with people as much as I could have, and that upset me. It felt like everyone managed to find their own little group of friends, and I never really did…

I couldn’t make the space my own. All of the bedrooms were identical – each room having the same bed, desk and wardrobe. You weren’t allowed to hang anything on the walls, and you couldn’t remove the navy and brown curtains (yes they were as bad as they sound). It never felt like home!

It made my mental health much worse. Being unhappy in my surroundings definitely had an impact on my mental health. I was having several panic attacks a day, and I was honestly pretty miserable. It got to point where I didn’t want to see anyone… I’d often wait till my flatmates were sleeping or out for the night to leave my room and make food. I definitely don’t miss it!

Looking back, it was a pretty horrible way to live for the year and I wish I’d spoke up about it a bit more at the time. I don’t regret going, but I do wish things had been different.

While I didn’t have a great experience at halls, I know that so many people do. People really do make friends for life, and that’s amazing. If you’re heading to university in September and you’re staying in student accommodation then I wish you the very best of luck!

student halls

Have you stayed in student accommodation? Did you enjoy it? I’d love to know! 

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  • Stephanie says:

    Aw I had exactly the same experience as you (albeit 7 years ago now…where has the time gone), you’ve completely nailed the feelings especially the living room one! It’s good to know it wasnt just me who felt this! It is really like reading my own thoughts on this – I also had equally awful curtains, although I broke the rules and put loads of posters on my walls 😂 On the plus side I did end up with a really great group of uni friends even if it took until 3rd year and we’re all still close now. I also am still really good friends with a flatmate from the first strange year – we never lived together again but remained firm friends!

    • rbekhaj says:

      Aw it’s nice to know that you felt the same way as I did, and it’s great to hear that you made friends in the end! I’m hoping I’ll be able to say the same by the end of this year haha

  • Theresa says:

    That would be hard not having a living room. When I was in college we had two shared bedrooms(2 girls to each room), one bathroom, a small living room and small kitchen. The communal space made a big difference!

  • Liam McNally says:

    During my first year, I stayed in halls and didn’t mind it as I got one of the disabled rooms as it was free. Big room all to myself.
    For my final 2 years, I stayed in Uni owned flats and they were awful. The heating was so expensive to run so I spent each winter in bed with the electric blanket on, only leaving to run to the toilet for a pee. Apart from that, I do miss my Uni days. So much free time!

  • I totally get you! It’s hard being in the same room for that length of time. I actually spent first and second year in halls, but that was more because I didn’t feel safe in the area where a lot of private housing was. I’ve been lucky that I’ve made great friends in halls who share the same interests as me, but there have also been some noisy folk who like going out a lot who I found it hard to bond with. I try and spend most of the day out of my room and work in the library etc. so it doesn’t feel like you’re stuck in your room all day.

    Megan | https://meganelizabethlifestyle.com/

  • This post is so relatable! I had mixed feelings on my halls, so our rooms had en-suites which was great and our kitchen also had sofas in it so we could socialise in there. The first month or so was alright as we were getting to know each other (in my flat there was myself, one girl and two boys). I became good friends with the girl and we are still friends now. Turns out she was in a course with a girl in the flat down next to us so we hung out with people in her flat as well and they were nice. But a few months later one of the boys in our flat left uni and the other one started developing some weird hate to my friend which meant that she had to relocate to another building. So it was just me and the other guy in the flat. This guy had the worst girlfriend who was horrible and never had anything nice to say. Being the person I am I always tried to avoid them. I started hanging out with the people next door more and more I may as well have lived there (I was always using their oven). I ended up moving in with them in second year along with the girl who had to move out and it was 100% a better experience and atmosphere.

  • Ruth says:

    I’m sorry to hear this, but it’s wonderful you were so honest about it, because like you say, there’s a lot of talk about how amazing it’s supposed to be. It was actually the idea of this that put me off going to uni altogether and our personalities seem quite similar, so I imagine I was right in assuming I wouldn’t have enjoyed it!

  • I made the decision not to move into Student Halls this year and I am so glad I did that – I think my mental health would have suffered the way you said yours did!

    Alice // The Rose Glow

  • I can relate to this post. I hated my first year at university. Mine didn’t go the way everyone had described it would. It was a very weird experience for me and I felt like I didn’t belong there; I never quite settled in. I had to live in the dorms and share a room because that’s what my parents could afford. It was hard having people around basically 24/7. I felt depressed a lot of the time, I remember I couldn’t even eat my first week there. Things got better when I stopped living on campus the next year.

  • Sarah says:

    Sorry to hear that your experience wasn’t what others had told you it would be. I am with you though, student housing wasn’t for me. When I went to university, I lived in an apartment, it worked but I didn’t love that either. Then I went to college, lived in student housing and was absolutely miserable. If I could do it all over again, I would never have gone into student housing, but at least it was only for a year.

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