Keep Fresh: Making Halls a Home

Keep Fresh is qmunicate’s survival guide series to freshers’ week – from halls to hangovers, moving to mental health, your big auntie qmunicate is here to get you through.

Halls are one of the pinnacles on uni experience. They will provide you with a solid portfolio of absolutely mental stories and you will have the time of your life, but student residences can definitely get a bit much. With this in mind, here are a few tips on how to turn your halls into more of a home, where you can relax and unwind a little.

Posters – chances are, halls won’t give you a lot of space on your walls to put decoration up, but making full use of what space you have (or cheating a wee bit, we’ve all done it), will make a world of difference between living in a strange place and having a space that is entirely yours. There will be poster sales around campus during Fresher’s Week and the first few weeks of term, where you’ll be able to find things to suit your taste and interests. My tip is, get some postcards or photos developed: they take up less space and are easier to store and travel with.

Plants – they may seem like a hassle, but having something alive and growing in your flat that isn’t mould will brighten it up. Having some green around will make everything seem fresher, a nice feeling after the busy days and nights of first year. If you’re a keen cook and get some live herbs, Glasgow has you covered with its bigger supermarkets, where potted basil, thyme, mint or even coriander are very affordable, and will help decorate as well as season your food. And if watering something every day or week seems like too much, just get yourself some cacti (come grab some at the QMU plant sale next Friday!)

Light – just to make that slightly clinical LED lighting in halls a bit warmer. Halls are very strict about their fire safety measures, so candles, however lovely and homey, are a no-go. However, taking a bus to Ikea and getting yourself a wee lamp or just a few fairy lights will do wonders for your mood, bringing a little bit of joy to your room.

Bedding – get yourself a soft double duvet and a mattress cover. Small things, but they will go a long way in masking various types of dubious mattress staining and protecting your back from any hard springs sticking out. And let’s face it, Glasgow is a wonderful place, but it gets cold. Being able to come home and burrito in a huge, comfy duvet is guaranteed to make your experience at halls much better.

A good cuppa – the kettle often becomes the centre of home life at halls. After a long night of partying or a hard day at uni, making a steaming cup of something in the kitchen will not only warm you up, but also encourage you to just hang out with your flatmates in communal spaces. And in the end, who you live with and the friendships you develop during first year will make your year. So tea is just the beginning; the real advice here is to mingle, find the people you’re comfortable with, and spend time with them, because they will be the support network that will eventually make your halls a home.

[Isabelle Ribe] 

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