As a first year student at the University of Portsmouth, I have first-hand experience of the horrors and the highlights that university halls have to offer.

Before the mass of construction that has been taking place for the last two years, Portsmouth was extremely lacking in student accommodation, capable of housing only 70% of first year students – and so the panic of finding somewhere to live began.

As a prospective member of University of Portsmouth, you are invited to choose your accommodation in the same order that you accepted your UCAS offer: first come, first served. When it was finally my turn, I opted for Greetham Street, the newest Unite Students building that opened in September 2016.

The first thing I noticed about my room at Greetham Street was that, like most University bedrooms, it was small. Very small. However, Greetham Street bedrooms have ¾ size beds so whilst this meant buying sheets to fit was a nightmare, the extra space in bed is definitely worth the effort.

One of the main positives of living in halls is without a doubt the social side. The very first friends that I made at uni were the 9 other people in my flat: all feeling as thrown-together and as lost as I was. From Fresher’s Week to Christmas we’d cook together; have film nights; and – of course- regular nights out. Since Christmas, I’ve grown closer to a group of friends on the same course as me, however, halls still helps out here as although we’re in different flats, the majority all live in Greetham Street. One of my favourite things about living here is being able to pop across to my friends’ flats for dinner or to watch a film in my pyjamas.

A second favourite is being able to roll out of bed half an hour before lectures begin – or just ten minutes if you’ve had a particularly late night. In Portsmouth, the majority of halls are within a five minute walk of the main buildings, no matter what course you’re on. As a CCI (Creative and Cultural Industries) student, Eldon building is where I need to be most often, and sits just a three minute walk away.

However, halls definitely have their drawbacks. On a good day, a friend will visit and say “I’m so jealous, I wish I lived in halls”, and on a bad day, they’ll refuse to even enter your kitchen because it smells like bins and they swear they saw something move in the rubbish pile. In Unite buildings, cleaners are scheduled bi-weekly, however, whilst most are the loveliest humans you can ever hope to meet, they’re not very skilled at actually cleaning. With a lot of people sharing communal spaces on top of that, brace yourself for more mess than you’ve ever seen in your life.

I’m definitely glad that I chose halls and I’ll miss my first ever home away from home when I move out next month, but my shared house next year will undoubtedly bring even more highlights and horrors.