Moving in

On one hand starting university was very exciting – learning new things, meeting new people, visiting new places; on the other, the very same exciting things seemed scary to me – ‘what ifs’, ‘buts’ and uncertainty as to how to do it all on my own, for the first time in my life. Then came really difficult tasks, like saying goodbye to my family or deciding what to pack and how to do it within the luggage allowance! To be fair, I was quite relieved once I got onto a plane to London as I knew that at this point my journey was beginning…

Getting from Heathrow to Connaught Hall was simple, just a quick train ride to Paddington and a 10 minute cab to take me right in front of the door to what I would soon call – my new home.

Getting from Heathrow to Connaught Hall was simple, just a quick train ride to Paddington and a 10 minute cab to take me right in front of the door to what I would soon call – my new home. As soon as I walked through the door I realised that it wasn’t just me moving into the hall that day. Seeing others in the same situation made me feel surprisingly at ease and I thought to myself: “If they can do it, so can I!”. But where to go from there? Looking around I saw the reception and decided it had to be my next stop.

Arriving at the Hall

The receptionist gave me a welcome pack, a hall ID card and the thing I was looking forward to the most - a key to my new room!

The receptionist gave me a welcome pack

The receptionist gave me a welcome pack, a hall ID card and the thing I was looking forward to the most - a key to my new room! We had a little chat about my university course and off I went to move in. I remember feeling reassured knowing that the reception staff is so friendly and they’re there 24/7 – it’s always nice to be greeted by a familiar face every time you come home.

After dropping off the bags and looking around my room I was pleasantly surprised; sure, it wasn’t exactly like the one back home, but I could definitely see a potential for it to become like that. All it needed was my stuff to brighten it up and make it feel cosier. But right then, I couldn’t wait to get back down and meet the hall staff and other people moving in. I quickly filled in some documents that the receptionist asked me for and ran downstairs.

On the way down I met Sarah who also had moved in that day. She had a little bit more time to explore the hall and told me about the common rooms, dining hall and a bar in the basement! I couldn’t wait to see it for myself but first I wanted to hang around the reception and meet more of my new neighbours.

By that time teas, coffees and cakes were served to the newcomers – ‘a perfect icebreaker’ I thought and decided to have some myself. At a table I met the staff and senior members. Everyone was very nice and answered hundreds of my questions! I suddenly realised that the feeling of anxiety was completely gone and I felt quite confident that Connaught Hall was the right choice for me.

 

After having one cake too many it was high time I explored the hall and check out the bar Sarah told me about. Connaught Hall isn’t big and I really liked the fact I could get everywhere without walking through miles of corridors. I discovered a garden on the back of the building which I thought would be a perfect location for taking breaks from studying in the spring term.

When I got to the bar I saw a few people standing by the pool table and decided to join. Most of them moved in that day and after talking about our experiences of the first day we played a game together. It looked like the stay in the hall would definitely not be a boring one…

I discovered a garden on the back of the building which I thought would be a perfect location for taking breaks from studying in the spring term.

It was great to see everyone in one place – the familiar members of staff and the residents I had already met sitting at the long dining room tables.

‘What a day!’ I thought and before it got too late I went back to my room to unpack. My suitcase standing in the corner of the room reminded me of what I felt like just a few hours before, back when I was at home. What seemed to be scary, was now exciting and I couldn’t wait to find out more about it. As I was unpacking, and the new, unfamiliar room started to look more like my own I decided to call home and tell my parents about my experience – I figured they were more worried than I was.

Although it was a long day, I wanted to make the most of it. I remember the receptionist had told me that the warden of Connaught Hall organises a welcome dinner for new residents each year on the first arrival day. Having made sure that my room was ready to become my home for the coming year I headed downstairs to the dining hall. It was great to see everyone in one place – the familiar members of staff and the residents I had already met sitting at the long dining room tables. For a moment I felt like I was in Hogwarts! It was a great experience to have a meal together – somehow it built a family atmosphere.

After dinner I went back to the bar. This time I was greeted by a few familiar faces, but I decided to talk to a couple of people who looked like they had just arrived; being in the same position only a few hours ago I knew how important it was to me. I told them about the garden and the staff members I had met before and suddenly I felt like I’m not new to Connaught Hall anymore, I felt like I’m part of it, like I’m at home.