Moving to university was the first occasion I had spent any extended time away from home, and I imagine this will be similar for many of you. Whilst moving into halls initially seemed extremely daunting, you soon will find that you soon settle in, make new friends and (possibly less quickly) become accustomed to living more independently. The University of York has a collegiate system and if you accept your place here you will be asked to select preferences regarding your first year accommodation. The university has a wide range of accommodation allowing you to choose between two campuses (East and West), catered or self-catered houses and flats and have either en-suite or shared bathrooms.
Personally, I wanted to keep my studies separate from any ‘down’ time and consequently opted to live on the Heslington East Campus (the Social Policy and Social Work department is based in Alcuin on the Heslington West Campus). I was allocated my first choice accommodation and subsequently became a member of Constantine College! I think it is important to note that I have not spoken to anyone who was not happy with the college and room they were assigned in their first year – so don’t panic (like I did!) about the quality of accommodation.
My flat in Constantine had 12 bedrooms, all of which had ¾ beds (essentially a double) and en-suite bathrooms with the most amazing showers known to man. I cannot explain quite what a luxury these showers were, and to this day I miss them. Between the 12 of us we shared a huge kitchen with two sinks, two ovens, 8 hob rings, a breakfast bar style table and chairs, a large dining table, 4 big fridge-freezers and 2 sofas with a large flat screen TV. Hardly ‘typical’ student accommodation!
If you are running late or just don’t feel like making the short walk, there is a free bus service between the two campuses (every 7 minutes during term time). I would also recommend bringing along a bike as it is really handy and York has been made for cyclists. Everywhere you turn you will see people on their bikes!
Whilst in my second year I opted to live off campus and rent a house with some friends (I found the ‘house hunting’ experience very exciting) I remain a part of the Constantine community and receive weekly newsletters from the college containing details of activities and events for the upcoming week. When living on campus, the college spoiled us with a weekly dose of (free!) yummy treats with the Wellbeing Team; ConstanTreat. The Forum, at the heart of the college (upstairs it has a common room with TVs, pool and table tennis tables, a piano, and lots of space to chill out) also hosts screenings such as The Great British Bake Off, The Apprentice and Sherlock. In my second year, I started to participate in the free(!!) salsa dance classes put on by the college and I can’t wait to begin these again following the Christmas break. I managed to get my entire family involved over Christmas and ‘demonstrate’ my new talent. This term I also plan to attend the (again, free) yoga classes also provided by the college. After all, what student doesn’t love free things!
I was in self-catered accommodation so I had to learn to cater for myself, do my washing, keep my room reasonably tidy etc etc (real adult responsibilities). However, there is no need to panic as you do receive a lot of support from your college. Constantine college staff have offices downstairs in The Forum (there is also a launderette here) and there is 24/7 security on campus.
So remember whilst it might feel like a big step from the comfort of your home, living at university is a wonderful experience and one which you will look back on and cherish! As students you do learn to improvise and get by – all supporting each other along the way!