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If you’re living at home or finding a privately rented place, don’t stress! 19% of all UCL undergrads live at home and even more of them live in private accommodation. So even if it feels like everyone is in halls in your first week, trust us, they’re not. But, if you’re worried about how to get in on the action, here are some tips.

Don’t be afraid to go to an event by yourself

Entering a room full of people you don’t know is scary, but don’t be afraid to go it alone. The Union’s Welcome isn’t all about clubbing - there are loads of other events that give you the chance to meet people whilst doing something fun. Whether it’s bonding over your sauce of choice at the ice cream social or chatting to people in the queue to Koko, don’t be afraid to make the first friendship-move. Every single Fresher is worried about meeting people, so be brave and say hi.

Plan your journeys in advance

Nightlife events might finish in the early hours, so plan your journey home in advance. You really don’t want to miss the last train home and have to wander round hoping you’ll miraculously find a bus stop with a stop labelled “your house”. Get to know the night buses and don’t be afraid to ask to crash on your new friend’s floor if you need to. And count your lucky stars for the night tube on weekends.

Commuting means commitment

If you have a long-ish journey to and from uni then you probably don’t want to be going home during the day, so plan in advance what you’re going to do to fill your time. Bring lunch so you don’t have to slope off home after your 11.00, chill in a Union cafe with a book between lectures and an evening event, or kill some time in the British Museum (just a short walk from campus) if you’ve got a longer break.

Spend time understanding your rent, bills and council tax

Irritatingly, you’re going to have to deal with this earlier than people in halls, so spend time sitting down and getting your shit together on rent, and setting up water, gas and electric, internet and a TV licence. The Union’s Advice Service can help with this, so take a look at studentsunionucl.org/advice-service

Set ground rules with your parents

If you’re living with your parents, there’s a chance you’ll have to accept that you might have less freedom (but fuller pockets!) than your hall-dwelling companions. That being said, you’re a UCL student now and that comes with different needs and responsibilities; it’s a chance to have a fresh start with your parents and transition into being ‘grown-up’. Sit down with your parents to discuss new arrangements, such as missing dinner because you went for an impromptu pizza at 16.00, or what will happen if you’re out late. If you have a second bedroom on your friend’s sofa, make sure you don’t leave your parents up all night worrying about where you are.

Be extra

Try everything once. No one’s highlight of their uni career is a Netflix binge. The Union has a never-ending list of things to do, from activism to clubs and societies; if you can find an activity that interests you, you’ll likely find people who interest you. Similarly, don’t be afraid to invite someone you’ve just met to grab lunch or a coffee, or to jump into a conversation in your common room. Everyone is in the same boat and open to making new friends.

And above all, remember this: even people who are living together in halls probably only met a few hours ago!


By Kate Wallis, 4th year BaSc student