Wednesday, 25 June 2014

What You REALLY Need To Bring To Halls

There are thousands of student websites with lists as long as both your arms of things you need to bring to university halls. A little known secret is these lists are BS. It's comforting to overpack before leaving home because then you feel very prepared, but within a few weeks you'll realise a lot of what you've brought isn't needed and that these things will sit in the same place until June. Here's a rundown of some things you'll need and some you won't.

- Clothes, obviously you need these. Don't bring your entire wardrobe though because halls bedrooms are tiny. Only bring clothes for the season because you'll be going home for Christmas break soon enough. Bring two warm coats so you don't feel like you're always wearing the same one. Ditto goes for practical shoes (ankle wellies have been my saviour this year). 
- Leave the sewing kit, door stop and bathroom tidy in Wilkos. Make sure to pack a first aid kit though. Plasters are useful for obvious reasons and I used the pins in mine for modifying a pub crawl t-shirt. 
- A few photos, but not too many. Everything's on facebook these days there's no need to cart photos around. Also there will be poster fairs within the first month so don't stress about finding your wall art over the summer. 
- Do not buy all the kitchen gear you can find. You don't need a colander or a baking dish. You won't use these things and by buying them you're just kidding yourself. Be brutally honest and buy one frying pan, one large saucepan, some tupperware (for saving leftovers) and a baking tray (for all the frozen food you'll be eating). Buy disposable cups too for prinking sessions because it saves a whole lot of washing up the next morning. 
- Bring two sets of sheets so you're never pushed to do laundry. Laundry facilities are expensive and you're best off saving up as much washing as you can. A blanket and a warm dressing gown will be very useful as halls' heating arrangements are famous for being timed and dodgy. The best type of dressing gown is one which goes past your knees; you won't be sexy but you'll sure as hell be warm. Don't bother with the decorative cushion on your bed either - it will just get in the way. 
- Something you've probably not thought of is a radiator dolly. You can't put clothes directly on halls radiators because it's bad for the paint and it will block the small amount of heat that come out of them. Avoid getting a clothes horse because it will take up valuable space. A lot of clothes aren't dryer friendly (you'll find out for yourself when your favourite pants are ripped apart by dryer cruelty) so I used to let anything delicate dry in my bedroom. 
- Hangover supplies are a must. Don't wait until you have freshers' flu to venture to the shop for painkillers, Fanta and crisps. You need to have all these things in abundance and you'll also want to keep your money for the sesh. Let mummy buy the Panadol. Building on this, it's a good idea to have cough syrup and TCP too for when you're legitimately ill. 

Remember that wherever you're going will have shops so you don't need to pack everything 'just in case'. You'll get by on a lot less than you think. The only area I would advise you to go a bit mental is the parental food shop. Buy the family pack of cereal and the bumper pack of laundry gel. Food is so much more expensive than you think it is and it's no lie that you will be saying goodbye to simple things like ham sandwiches and chicken breast fillets until you go home for Christmas.

My cats are probably the only thing I really needed
at halls but couldn't have

Friday, 20 June 2014

The Truth About Hallmates

Moving into university halls can be scary. After all, you'll be stuck with these strangers for your entire first year. I won't lie to anyone moving for uni this September, you're not guaranteed to be friends with your flatmates. Some halls operate like a close family and some operate like the type of family you only see at Christmas.
The best advice I can give to anyone moving is be an open person. Take all the opportunities to meet new people that you can. Don't shy away in your bedroom and don't stick with your friends from home just because it's easier. You're better off having nights where you know no one rather than use an old friend as a social crutch. Some of the best friends are made within the first few weeks so make sure you don't sell yourself short.
Shifting your flatmate is a dangerous activity. It can go one of two ways: a one off or a relationship. The 'one-off' is only awkward if you let it be. Laugh about it and move on. The 'relationship' can be trouble for your entire halls as couples can be annoying to live with. The trick is to keep drama and sickening cuteness to yourselves, don't get jealous about other flatmates hanging out with your bf/gf, and have a plan in place for a break-up. Don't bring other flatmates into your fall out, but this is easier said than done as it's bad enough seeing an ex on the street imagine living with them.
Sharing is caring but don't be taken advantage of. Be careful about lending money to anyone until you've known them a few months. Believe me, it ends badly. This stretches to personal safety too, especially for the girls. They might be your new flatmates but you don't truly know them so keep your senses about you.
At the end of the year you'll hopefully be able to stand everyone you live with and be sad to see them go. It's funny how they turn into family, even if it's just an annoying brother. Strangely no matter how attractive your flatmates are they will lose all sex appeal (unless you date them obviously). This year I lived with the world's nicest arse but I couldn't appreciate it fully because it was just too weird. Like checking out a cousin *boke*.

Goodbye Rowan 4 Room 103

Sunday, 8 June 2014

The Sliding Scale of Hangovers

The no show. You drank a considerable amount but have woken up without a trace of hangover. As rare as a Christmas miracle, appreciate these mornings when they happen.
Feeling a bit rough. Your head is a bit sore and you need a lie-in. Nothing a bacon sarnie won't sort out.
Oh dear. Dry mouth and a stomach churning so much you'd think you were making butter in there. You definitely over indulged last night. You have acid reflux so bad it may erode your throat. To make it worse last night's takeaway is still on your breath. As lovely as a chicken burger is you really don't want to taste it the morning after.
Oh no, noooo. Light is your enemy and you can't think about everything you drank without wanting to throw up. Your stomach is dissolving in its own acid. Your insides feel like they're trying to escape. This type of hangover will likely be coupled with a deep sense of shame over something you did last night. If you're like me you needn't even have done anything bad, good old fashioned Catholic guilt will make any molehill into a mountain.
Death. This hangover is so bad you will consider whether something is seriously wrong with you. It can't be normal to feel this bad after drinking. Forget about opening your eyes or getting out of bed, all you can hope for is to make it through the day.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Why I Fly with Ryanair

What takes half an hour, causes extreme frustration and leaves you feeling emotionally drained? Booking flights with Ryanair.
Why do I do it then? For the same reason everyone else flies with those soulless monsters. It's cheap. It's so cheap that to bring a bag costs more than my seat on the plane.
Of course, you sell out your happiness when you fly with Ryanair. I have to be at the airport before most of the staff, I had to restart the entire booking process because I'd forgotten to fill in one box, and printing my boarding pass is a hellishly specific process (you must print your boarding pass 24 hours before flying, but not 2 hours before, you can only click the link once, it must be in magic ink, God Himself must sign it, and don't forget to bring your passport, dental records and family tree going back 5 generations).
But at the end of the day I save £40, so it's all worth it. I can fly with British Airways when I have a steady job and 2.5 children.