I thought I would share my experience of living in halls for my first year at Plymouth, for anyone who is considering whether halls are the best option for them. For me, as soon as I accepted my offer at Plymouth I knew that I wanted to live in halls. I have an older brother who had gone to University a few years prior to me, and hearing all of his stories from halls and the people he met, I knew it would be the best option for me. Of course, there is lots of other options too, including private accommodation and shared houses. I am in a shared house for my second and third years, and I am equally enjoying that too.
What is good about the application process for accommodation in Plymouth is that it is a questionnaire based on your personality and interests. You give your preferences on what you want to experience in halls, for example, whether you prefer going out or staying in, if you want to be in a mixed gender hall or not, and other preferences like if you want a non-drinking flat for example. You also get to list a few different halls which you would like to live in, and then you are matched with a hall and people. It is all very considered so you are not being thrown into a flat with completely random people. When I came to Plymouth on an applicant day, I had seen the Mary Newman hall on campus and put this down as my first preference, with St Thomas halls and one other as my backup. I was initially disappointed when I didn’t get into Mary Newman and got a place at St Thomas, only because I had fallen in love with Mary Newman and wanted to be close to the University. But after looking online at St Thomas, I was excited to move in, and looking back, St Thomas was the perfect place for me.
St Thomas halls is located on Gasking Street, which is about a 10-15 minutes’ walk from the University campus. It is located within minutes of a Tesco express, Sainsbury’s local, Prime café, Tru Gym and about a 5-minute walk to the Barbican. For me, being this close to the Barbican was ideal, because having never lived by the sea before, I was really excited and I made a good running route that took me along the Barbican and up to the Hoe. There is definitely perks to each different accommodation, but if you don’t mind the walk and fancy living somewhere near the University but not right on campus so you can ‘get away’ a little bit, it is ideal. I had a really positive halls experience, and meet some of my closest friends here. We had a really nice and big kitchen, and used fairy lights and bunting to make it feel more lived in! But here’s a few to consider if your debating whether Halls of Residence are the right option for you:
1. Will you mind sharing with other people?
Living in halls is a great way to meet new people, as everyone is in the same situation and there is always stuff going on – whether this is parties or activities arranged by the halls or just having chilled nights in with your flat. But with meeting new people, as in every situation in life, you’ll meet people you instantly click with, but you will also meet people you perhaps don’t click with and have very much in common with. You will definitely find ‘your people’ that you get on with, but this is something to consider and keep an open mind about. Remember it’s a shared flat and everyone is different!
2. How much stuff will you take with you?
Now I definitely over packed for first year, I am willing to admit this now! I wanted to make my room feel homely and comfortable which, after moving about 5 hours away from home, you can understand! But think about what stuff you actually need and what stuff might just sit there for a year and collect dust! In terms of buying new bits, especially for the kitchen, consider what you need, and don’t forget that anything you forget you can always buy whilst you’re here. Wilko is great for bits and bobs like that.
3. Is it somewhere you will feel comfortable, safe, and most importantly, at home?
Some people might prefer being on campus, if your course is very full on and you have a lot of early mornings. Others might prefer being near a nightclub or bars, if you want to go out a lot. There is lots of different halls to choose from so you can pick the one that suits you best. They are all very secure, with access for us being through a fob that let us into the shared reception area, our flat and our individual rooms. So, you feel very safe!
All the different Halls of Residence are different prices and also have different number of weeks on the contract, so this is something to research into before you decide. There is lots of different options to suit different financial preferences, some halls that are a lot cheaper and some that are more expensive with en-suite bathrooms and even Studio flats if you want to have your own space.
And I think that is everything I can think of! I would 100% recommend living in halls, and it was what was best suited for me. To find out more about the accommodation options here at Plymouth, head onto to their website: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/student-life/services/accommodation.
Thanks for reading!