As a Fresher, I turned up on my first day at university not knowing what a college was, or what college life was about. Like many people, I assumed that they were just halls of residence. I really wish that I had taken the time to understand what they actually meant, as the collegiate system at York is so much more than just accommodation. They really add to your experience in the first year of university.
Hear us roar!
I’m in Halifax college, which is known for being a bit mystical as it’s a 15 minute walk from main campus. Halifax is in a lovely area, surrounded by fields and woodland. However, what makes Halifax great is not the big rooms and pretty scenery; but the friendly atmosphere. Despite being the largest college, it still has the feel of a small community.
This is down to the support network that has been put in place. We have a college tutor, who knows us all personally, who we can go to if we have any issues. There’s the security staff who have helped a few poor drunken freshers get back from town. The reception is always open, so no matter when you need something (like a key if you’re locked out), you can get help. There is an elected student committee for each college who help to organise and run events throughout the year. They make sure that there is always something for everyone. So far in Halifax, this has ranged from cheese and wine evenings to kickboxing classes.
The facilities really help the college come together and give you a more enriched and enjoyable life during term-time. There are useful things like printers, study and classroom spaces, and local shops, but also lots of games and music opportunities in common rooms.
Our main common room is JJ’s, which has a TV and games console, a pool table, table tennis, and a whole lot more. JJ’s is open 24/7 which means if you’re anything like me and get the urge to randomly play air hockey at 3am, you can. My friend has recently been using the instruments in JJ’s to teach himself piano.
Alongside the more relaxed college sport and the incessant chanting about how terrible every college is except your own, college freshers’ week was a perfect way to become a community. Your college organises the first week of Freshers’. YUSU (York University Student Union) organises university-wide events in the second week. College events are more small scale and are an effective way to meet others in your college and to bond with your housemates. It’s a lot less daunting this way!
Meeting the rest of your college is useful, especially if you don’t get along with your flatmates. We have ‘adopted’ someone into our flat this way; it means that you can always find the right people for you.
Honestly, colleges are a great part of university life and they add to the colour of first year. They help you to integrate and engage in a fun community and friendly rivalries. They’re more than just where you live.
New to university? Why not have a read of some of our other blogs?