In the age of social media, being connected is incredibly easy. Not only that, for our generation, its as instinctual as breathing. Conversations between people blend seamlessly from online chat to real life, you can check if your friends are “attending” an event you’re considering, and keep up with their day to day activities by scrolling your newsfeed. In a way, this makes us ‘better’ friends than ever because we’re so in touch with each others lives.
But this intimacy reaches a whole new level, when you realise the person you’re messaging lives two doors down, you saw them just twenty minutes ago and you don’t need Facebook to know they had a 3 hour lecture this morning, ate pasta for lunch and are currently struggling with their maths coursework. All of that and you weren’t even TRYING to be social.
In halls, you become close to people not because you share common interests or passions, but because you know what foods they like to eat, what movies and music they like, and because at 3am on a Tuesday night you stay up watching funny cat videos together. You just accept them because you know them as they are when they’re at home, not the mask they put on. All of us have lives outside of halls, but when we walk into the kitchen at night everyone needs to relax. Going home to your family isn’t a chore, you’re never more yourself because you know that no matter what they’ll support you. So in halls, its important that you forge an environment that facilitates that. I think, this is something everyone understands inherently, and even I’m surprised how relaxed I am around my hall mates. It’s all those sarcastic comments you think but don’t say, the bad jokes you usually keep to yourself. When all those start blurting out of your mouth while you’re making dinner? You know you’re at home.
One of the most poignant examples of this camaraderie was when I casually mentioned that I needed to lose some weight for an upcoming taekwondo competition. My friend suddenly said he had been thinking about doing the same and that we should try and do it together. We then asked another person on our floor, who we knew worked out a lot, for his advice on the matter. We discussed what dietary changes we would make and set a regular gym routine. By the end of the day whenever I tried to eat anything sweet or generally unhealthy someone in the kitchen would remind me of my goal. If one of us wanted to go to the gym we’d invite each other, then we would go shopping together to make sure we didn’t buy unhealthy foods. Staying motivated became so much easier and it was amazing watching all of this unfold, everyone being so supportive. But then of course we still get the occasional “Look! ICE CREAM!… I know you want some but HA you can’t.”
Living in halls might require developing a whole new level of people skills, but if you do it right? It’s totally worth it. Where else will you find friends that will stuff their face with your ice cream, just because they know you’re dieting?