Seeing as A-Level results’ day has now passed, and a whole new cohort of students will be eagerly waiting to start at Imperial in October, I thought now would be a pertinent time to offer some advice on what you DON’T need to bring with you to university. Most freshers have the basics covered pretty well, but often end up grossly overestimating what they’ll need to survive university life. For what it’s worth, here’s my take on five things you can probably just leave at home.
Excessive kitchenware You may think you’ll need a pizza cutter, toastie maker and corkscrew when you’re at uni, and you may well not be wrong.
You’ve selected Imperial as your firm choice (great choice), but what comes next? Ah yes- applying for accommodation. I still remember how anxious I felt when faced with my ‘Accommodation Hub’ portal trying to decide which 5 halls of residence to apply to. The gravitas of this decision really got to me. After all, the hall I lived in was likely to influence every aspect of my first year experience- the friends I made, my day to day routine, the part of London I would spend the most time in. To an extent, I was right. I couldn’t imagine spending first year in any other halls of residence and, if I had, I suspect my life would have been markedly different.
One of the most common concerns first year University students have is about finding an accommodation for subsequent years. In Imperial, most halls are reserved for first year students, to ease their transition into University life. I was fortunate to be staying in student dorms located 5 minutes away from my department during my first year, but I knew that I would eventually have to get out of my comfort zone to find a new flat before the end of the year too. In this blog, I will be summarizing my experiences searching for a new accommodation in London and some tips to get your ideal flat!
Even after starting Year 3, it seems like it was just yesterday when I dragged all my luggage into my room at the Woodward Buildings. Unfortunately for the majority of us, the end of Year 1 meant moving out of student halls and finding a new home elsewhere. It isn’t an easy process, since London is an expensive city and Imperial just so happens to be located in one of the poshest areas. Looking back at my flat-hunting experiences, I have compiled a list of tips (that would have made my life so much easier) to share with you!
Sitting in my uni flat bedroom, facing the daunting task of packing up essentially 3 years of my life, it felt appropriate to actually assess how much of this stuff I needed to being to university and how much I could’ve left at home. So here are my top tips of what to actually bring when you move into halls in first year. It’s important to remember that you will only be in halls for 9 months in first year and then you’ll be moving your stuff back home, into storage or straight into your accommodation for the next few years, so don’t overpack!!
If you’re a first year student, sorting out accommodation is straightforward: a place in an Imperial hall of residence is guaranteed in nearly all cases. The situation is different for returning students though. They can’t live in first-year halls unless they find a vacancy (you have to be lucky here) or become a hall senior. Because of that, most returning students decide to live in private accommodation. However, there’s an option to continue living in halls without taking responsibilities of a hall senior or hunting for vacancies in first-year halls. It’s Evelyn Gardens, a set of three halls (Willis Jackson, Southwell, Holbein) located just a 15-20 minute walk away from the South Kensington campus.
Important factors to consider when flat-hunting in London
Before coming to Imperial, I was concerned about how there is no campus accommodation after your first year. However, this offers flexibility for you to decide how you want to live. There are many options, living alone, with friends, in halls…so what are some factors you must consider?
Staying in halls close to campus
If you haven’t gathered the courage to find friends to live with, don’t worry. Evelyn Gardens is an accommodation for returning undergraduates that has similar layouts to first-year halls, letting you make friends with people on your floor whilst having your personal space in one-person bedrooms.
During the fall term I spent most of my time on campus, even coming in on weekends to use the pool at Ethos and get some work done in the quiet student common room of my department building. But now that the College is closed for the holidays I’ve been spending a lot more time at home, which for me is a student accommodation in North London. Finding a place to live in London was a big concern for me as an incoming international postgraduate student, as options through Imperial were limited, and I know that many of my fellow students have been in the same boat.
Don’t worry, I was calling it “Bait” right until the moment when my hall senior greeted me on move in day and I’d just made a fool of myself by pronouncing it wrong for months! My time in halls this year has absolutely flown by. Do I feel like I made the most of my time here? Probably not, but with 3 weeks left I look forward to enjoying the benefits of living in such a prestigious and lively area in the heart of London. I’ll split this post into 2 sections what I’ve liked and disliked about Beit, and what to consider when choosing halls.