Sitting in my uni flat bedroom, facing the daunting task of packing up essentially 3 years of my life, it felt appropriate to actually assess how much of this stuff I needed to being to university and how much I could’ve left at home. So here are my top tips of what to actually bring when you move into halls in first year. It’s important to remember that you will only be in halls for 9 months in first year and then you’ll be moving your stuff back home, into storage or straight into your accommodation for the next few years, so don’t overpack!!
If you’re a first year student, sorting out accommodation is straightforward: a place in an Imperial hall of residence is guaranteed in nearly all cases. The situation is different for returning students though. They can’t live in first-year halls unless they find a vacancy (you have to be lucky here) or become a hall senior. Because of that, most returning students decide to live in private accommodation. However, there’s an option to continue living in halls without taking responsibilities of a hall senior or hunting for vacancies in first-year halls. It’s Evelyn Gardens, a set of three halls (Willis Jackson, Southwell, Holbein) located just a 15-20 minute walk away from the South Kensington campus.
Important factors to consider when flat-hunting in London
Before coming to Imperial, I was concerned about how there is no campus accommodation after your first year. However, this offers flexibility for you to decide how you want to live. There are many options, living alone, with friends, in halls…so what are some factors you must consider?
Staying in halls close to campus
If you haven’t gathered the courage to find friends to live with, don’t worry. Evelyn Gardens is an accommodation for returning undergraduates that has similar layouts to first-year halls, letting you make friends with people on your floor whilst having your personal space in one-person bedrooms.
During the fall term I spent most of my time on campus, even coming in on weekends to use the pool at Ethos and get some work done in the quiet student common room of my department building. But now that the College is closed for the holidays I’ve been spending a lot more time at home, which for me is a student accommodation in North London. Finding a place to live in London was a big concern for me as an incoming international postgraduate student, as options through Imperial were limited, and I know that many of my fellow students have been in the same boat.
Don’t worry, I was calling it “Bait” right until the moment when my hall senior greeted me on move in day and I’d just made a fool of myself by pronouncing it wrong for months! My time in halls this year has absolutely flown by. Do I feel like I made the most of my time here? Probably not, but with 3 weeks left I look forward to enjoying the benefits of living in such a prestigious and lively area in the heart of London. I’ll split this post into 2 sections what I’ve liked and disliked about Beit, and what to consider when choosing halls.
I present to you- Woodward (WW) a.k.a #DiamondofImperial a.k.a Alaska (because it’s low-key a trek from campus).
In case you aren’t sure how it works, all first year undergrad students are guaranteed a place for accommodation as long as they accept Imperial as their firm. I received an invitation to apply for accommodation in July- you get to choose 5 preferences but these are all ranked equally.
My halls consist of three blocks: B, C, and D (I’m not quite sure what happened to A). Block D is arguably the place to be- where the kitchens have panoramic views.
So for the perfect Christmas dinner in halls, you ideally need: a good number of hungry students, at least two types of meat, a vat of gravy and a mountain of pigs-in-blankets. To be that little bit extra, like us (and the royal family), you could also add a lobster centre piece! Between 6 kitchens and 8 people cooking, we were able to feed 12 people, for only £8 each!!
Rather surprisingly, the dish that was eaten up first was the Brussel sprouts, traditionally a vegetable that gets slightly neglected! However, here are my top tips to preparing and cooking these surprisingly edible greens, in a recipe otherwise known as “sprouts drowning in bacon”.
Let’s face it: living in London is expensive. It might sound scary, especially that for some of you the first year of the university will be also the first year when you have to be fully responsible for your finances. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Here are my survival tips.
Find a good accommodation. This is the key, since paying rent will be your biggest expense. Remember that you’ll also need to cover bills – and you might underestimate how high they’ll probably be. Having said that, I must stress: don’t go for the cheapest option. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
As a prospective student, I once wanted to know what a typical day for an EIE student was so here is my version!
Living in Wilson House as a hall senior I wake up at 8:00am to get to a 9:00 am lecture.
Wilson House is conveniently ~25mins from the SK campus and the walk is visually captivating since you walk through Hyde Park! For those from countries which are really full of nature like me, you probably won’t get what the big deal is to have a walk though a park.
But a park like Hyde Park in a city like London is not easy to come by, so living in a hall that allows you to enjoy this walk everyday is amazing (except during the winters 😀 )
8:00 – Grudging roll out of bed – too early for Electronic labs or Computer Labs
8:30 – Walk to uni
9:00 to 12:00 – This is usually some sort of labs in 2nd year (in first year you enjoy the great life and have labs in the afternoons!