15 things that only happen in university halls

students relaxing in a halls of residence kitchen

You'll have ticked all these off the list within two weeks of turning up...

Moving into halls is just one of the best parts of the whole uni experience. A lot of memories will be made in your little dorm room.

So whether it’s new eating habits, questionable sleep patterns or living with hordes of other students, here’s a glimpse at what you can expect when you move into uni halls…

1. You're stepping over a sleeping Smurf as you leave for your 9am lecture

It’s usually a medic. Or a lawyer. Have fun trying to scrub blue paint off the carpet for the rest of the year.

"In Fresher's Week, my flatmate and I passed out in the corridors after losing three games of beer pong in a row. I stayed starfished on the floor for almost 12 hours and gave my other flatmates a fright on their way to lectures the next morning."


2. There’s always a stranger at your kitchen table… and nobody seems to mind

You shuffle into the kitchen in your sunglasses to make yourself a coffee, and there’s someone flicking through Tinder at the table. “Hey, I’m Tom, I’m Greg’s mate from home”, says the stranger. You nod blearily, before realising you don’t know a Greg either.

3. Every ‘quiet gathering’ becomes a raging all-night party

“Just a quiet one, yeah? We’ll just share a bottle of wine and watch something on Netflix, yeah? Of course you can invite your flatmate! And her boyfriend!”… OK, so it’s 1am and you’re passed out under the table. Netflix has been asking if you’re still there for four hours. Oops.

4. There’s always a stranger on your corridor. Are you SURE anyone lives in room 3?

In all student halls, there’s the resident ghost. Once you saw the door shutting, but when you knocked you heard them slide the latch across. Their shelf in the fridge is empty. Their shampoo remains untouched in the bathroom. Who the hell do you live with? Is this the mysterious Greg?

I haven't seen one of my flatmates in a week. I hope he's OK!

pile of washing up

5. You’ll become well acquainted with a certain housemate’s handwriting through their passive-aggressive sticky notes

“I did the washing up AGAIN. Can we PLEASE try to do OUR OWN from now on?” The number of capitals in Kate’s notes has been increasing throughout the year, and she’s switched from biros to Sharpies to really make a point.

"Went down to the kitchen today, and someone had stuck a Post-It on one of those sponges which has a handle attached which you can fill up with washing-up liquid. It said:

'Who is the owner of this sponge? Could they please meet me at 1pm on Monday in this kitchen?'

Sounds mighty dubious to me."


6. Your recycling boxes are 99% glass bottles, 1% unread free newspapers from the bus

You will also end up playing Recycling Box Buckaroo, where everyone tries to balance just one more empty bottle of Corona on top of the mountain of glass. It’s alright, just use those old copies of the Metro as a buffer.

7. Your frying pan will ALWAYS be at the bottom of the precarious pile in the sink

Why is your stuff always at the bottom of the festering pile of plates, woks and graters? Do you wrestle yours out AND do everyone else’s washing up, or just borrow Priyanka’s nice new pan just this once? She’ll never know…

One of my flatmate's stuff is piling up while me and the other girl who share the kitchen wash up every day!


8. Every time you check your phone you’ll have 412 new messages from your corridor’s WhatsApp group

You check your phone after a lecture and spend an hour scrolling through all the lukewarm ‘bantz’ from the ‘ROB’S MUM APPRECIATION SOCIETY’ WhatsApp group. To save you some time, most of these messages will just be a string of crying laughing faces.

9. Living in constant fear of being THAT PERSON who sets the fire alarm off at 3am

Ah, a nice post-night out crumpet. That’s what you need. Except – OH GOD it’s on fire, and you can’t fan the smoke away fast enough, and – yep, now you’re the person responsible for everyone standing in the street in their pyjamas in the middle of the night. Congratulations.

"We went on a pub crawl at Christmas and didn't come home until 5am. One of us accidentally set off the halls' fire alarm, waking up everyone in our block. We had to stand in the snow while security sorted it out; my other flatmate and I were in tears because we were so drunk and cold."


10. Someone’s door is nominated as a shrine to takeaway menus

It all starts with a blob of Blu Tack and a Mamma Mia’s pizza menu. Fast forward three months, and that collage of curries, noodles and kebabs is almost certainly a fire hazard… but you know exactly where to look when you can’t be bothered to cook.

letter coming through door

11. The kitchen becomes a resting ground for traffic cones

Nobody remembers how they got there, but until you need hiking boots and crampons to reach the fridge, nobody’s going to worry too much about getting rid of them either.

"When you end up racing people across the city centre wearing a traffic cone for a hat.

Aah, first year"

Stiff Little Fingers

12. You will only receive two pieces of post in the entire year

One will be a birthday card from your grandma, and the other will be a fine when someone discovers the blue Smurfy carpet.

13. You set an alarm for 4am to make sure you get to use the washing machine

You’ve put off doing your washing for as long as possible, so you make the classic rookie error of trying to do your dark wash at 7pm on a Tuesday. Nice try! Get used to setting your alarm for some ungodly hours if you ever want clean clothes again

"I normally do a wash at 11pm/midnight at uni, a dry immediately after, and be out of the launderette by about 1.30am / 2am."


14. The dash from the showers to your room when you forget your towel

This takes some real military-level planning. Lily’s lecture finished five minutes ago, so she should be back any time now. Grab the hand towel, cover what you can and run like you’ve never run before.

15. Learning more about your new friends than you ever wanted to when you discover that the walls are PAPER. THIN.

So now you know Oscar’s weird pet name for his girlfriend, or that Will is way too into Enya, or that Ben grunts all the way through his squats. You’ll never see them in the same way again.

"Someone I knew was in her room, printing off an assignment at about half one in the morning. The printer was making a nice rhythm. Then she heard something constantly hitting the wall from next door. Not long later, the printer and the "rhythmic banging" literally synced. She freaked out, and ran out her room into the kitchen. She couldn't look at the guy from next door the same way again."


Our partnership with the University of East Anglia

The Student Room is proud to work with UEA, a UK top-25 university (Complete University Guide 2024) and UK top-30 university (The Times/Sunday Times 2024), as the official partner of our student life section.

Located on the edge of Norwich, a lively city full of secret gems just waiting to be discovered.

Visit their profile page to learn more or join the conversation on The Student Room's UEA forum.

Read more from the student life section 
Find out more about UEA on The Student Room 
Ask a UEA student a question about university
Study with UEA