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Halls Hacks: How to get the most out of your first year in halls

By SarahWhelan 16 Mar 2020

Halls can be an amazing experience, full of new friendships, increased independence and new surroundings. It can also be stressful or lonely. 

Whatever your experience has been, we have compiled a list of 10 ways to get the most out of your halls.

Just remember though, first year of university doesn't represent what every year will be like. If you love halls, great, stay another year, if you don't, shake it up and try something new.

a group of people standing next to a person

Be visible. Fire doors are life savers but they're not conducive to starting conversations in halls. Don't go for the 'prop them open' tactic to show you're happy for people to stop by and say hello. Instead, try sitting in the communal areas, especially during meal times. It's a great way to develop those initial friendships with your flat mates and maybe even learn some cooking tips.

Get involved with freshers. The first week on campus is notorious with drinking too much and sleeping too little. Don't worry if this isn't your thing though. The RES life team on campus run regular day trips, movie nights, quizzes and more, all are great ways, especially in the first few weeks to meet people with similar interests both in your flats and outwith. 

a person standing in front of a building

Clean up. We all know that taking laundry back home for washing is a strong no no. It's time to put on your adult cap and get it done but waiting in a hot, windowless room for a machine to become free is no fun. Luckily the common room is next door with Netflix, board games and a vending machine. Download the Laundry app and you can check when machines are free in advance. Just maybe avoid Sunday afternoons!


Venture out. You're living here because of University but that doesn't mean that everything needs to revolve around campus. The sports and societies here are great and a good way to meet other students, but be open to venturing out and trying a club or event unrelated to university. Eventbrite is great for finding FREE courses.

Learn your address. This is a simple but a goodie. You'll need it for when you register with a doctor (do it!), when you put through that online order and more. It will also save you the embarrassment of ending up in Queen Margaret University Way instead of Drive. We've all been there...

a man looking at phone

Keep connected. The first month can be a whirlwind and full of new faces and experiences. It can be worth, however, checking in with friends and family from home every now and then. After a long day of classes and studying its refreshing to talk to people who know you well and are outside the uni bubble. Also, as much as your parents might talk about the relief of having you finally moving out, chances are they are missing you too and a wee phone call could be very appreciated. 

Explore. QMU is a small but there is a lot to explore on and off campus. Head down to the pond at the back of accommodation for a relax or to spot some of the local swans. Head into Musselburgh for independent shops, shows and pub quizzes or explore the local walking and cycling routes for trips to Craigmiller Castle and Dalkeith Country Park. 

women talking

Do it your way. This is your experience and although there are a million stereotypes about uni life you are free to make it what you want. There'll be aspects of it that you love and others that you don't but don't put pressure on yourself to make it into a remake of what you've seen in films and online. 

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