Things every Royal Holloway flat will experience this year

Leave your door on latch and someone will cover your room in toilet roll

The first prinks of university

New best friends

New best friends (Photo: Zanthe Meijer)

This is where everyone gets to know all the basic facts about you, though they won’t remember any the next day. For many, it’s the first night away from the parents and might even be the first time they’ve properly got drunk so watch out for some sore heads the next morning, plus many stories of the night before.

Celebrating birthdays

Spot the birthday boy (Photo: Natasha Seneviratne

Spot the birthday boy (Photo: Natasha Seneviratne

For those of you who live in the newer buildings such as Williamson, Tuke, Butler, Gowar and Wedderburn, you’ll soon realise the massive windows can sometimes be a massive pain. For instance, when organising a surprise party for a flatmate, the windows can be a bit of a giveaway.

Nevertheless, even if you are only just getting to know your flatmates, every birthday during term will be celebrated the Royal Holloway way with a Tesco caterpillar cake.

The group trek down to Tesco

Stock up on the essentials

Stock up on the essentials (Photo: Sophia Efstathiou)

Doing your weekly food shop has never been so hard. You’ll either be lazy and get food delivered to campus or you’ll brace the trek down to Tesco or Waitrose for refreshments. This help you bond as you stroll down every aisle, buying food you might not necessarily need and eventually facing the climb back up to halls.

Fire alarms at every hour of the day

Get used to this

Get used to this

Whether it’s early morning or midnight, there’s always a chance of the fire alarms going off and it’s even worse if your flat has a dodgy fire alarm which goes off easily.

Obviously the fire alarms are a massive pain but they can also be a way of finally seeing people, especially when everyone is cooped up in their rooms watching Netflix. Make sure you have a coat or some easy shoes you can slip on straight away as you’ll be using them regularly when that dreaded noise begins.

Make a note: it’s not the best idea to go out in shorts during December, thinking the fire alarm will only last a few minutes. It won’t and you’ll be frozen by the time you get back into the flat.

Flat meetings

Unless you’re lucky and all get along, there will be obvious conflicts occurring and some will have to be resolved through flat chats. These tend to occur around the table in the kitchen and can either be really useful or a complete waste of time.

Messy prinks


Don’t think the cleaners are going to be happy (Photo: Chloe Hill)

When term’s properly underway, your flat may decide to host pre-drinks. Obviously this can go two ways and either be really good or completely fail. Whether you try to hold a block party or a small gathering of friends, as a flat you will become more experienced in dealing with prinks.

Obviously your flat will be left a complete mess afterwards with bottles and rubbish scattered everywhere so be prepared for the clean-up, as the cleaners won’t be your best friends if you leave the kitchen in a state.

Arguments about washing up

How to do washing up, in case you weren't sure

How to do washing up, in case you weren’t sure

Cleaning seems to split people into two groups. The cleaners, who make sure everything they have used is washed and dried straight away, and the lazy ones who leave their dishes in the sink saying they’ll get back to it later. Inevitably, they don’t get back to it later and the mountain of dirty dishes slowly starts to build.

Decorating for Halloween and Christmas

Presents! (Photo: Sophia Efstathiou)

Presents! (Photo: Sophia Efstathiou)

Your flat will probably be super excited about Halloween and Christmas and decorating the flat can be a great way to bond and mess around. Even if the decorations don’t look the best, it’s the thought that counts. Some flats will excel with decorations and look like a professional winter wonderland, while others will opt for a “more abstract” display.

Locking yourself out

This happens to everyone, so don’t be embarrassed when you close the door forgetting your key card is still inside the room. You have to experience locking yourself out to truly appreciate university. Plus, it allows your flat to mock and ridicule you until another flatmate locks themselves out later that week. They may laugh but your flatmates will also be the ones who let you borrow shoes and clothes to wear to the hub in order to get let back into your room.



Nobody wants to come home to this

The notorious prankster will try anything to keep themselves occupied. Never leave your doors on latch as this provides them with the opportunity to strike. Classic practical jokes range from jumping out of your cupboards and scaring you to toilet papering flatmates’ rooms while they’re out.

Turning one of the bedrooms into the ‘social room’

Why are all these people in my room? (Photo: Natasha Seneviratne)

Why are all these people in my room? (Photo: Natasha Seneviratne)

For some reason, there’s always one bedroom where everyone congregates. If it’s your room people will constantly be walking in for a chat so be prepared.

Getting ready together for a night out

Too many options...

Too many options…

The best thing for girls (and guys) about living in a flat for first year is you can try on different outfits and have the opinions of seven other people to help you decide on the best clothes to wear. Plus, RHUL’s high girls to guys ratio provides plenty of opportunities for borrowing clothes from your fellow female flatmates.

Hearing ‘noises’ from other rooms

You’ll hear everything from your flatmates watching weird YouTube videos to others getting it on 24/7. The walls are fairly thin so keep the noise down if you’re having an adult sleepover or else your whole flat will be able to hear every single thing, which can make for an embarrassing meal time.

Trying to get a flat photo

Friends forever

Friends forever (Photo: Natasha Seneviratne)

Getting a photo of your university family not only shows people back home you’re fine and have friends but it’s a great reminder of what you all looked like when you first started. Everyone changes when they go to uni and it’s great to see the difference between the start of freshers and the end of first year.

Appointing an honorary flatmate

Honourary flatmate selfie (Photo: Iona Levi Lee)

Honorary flatmate selfie (Photo: Iona Levi Lee)

Most flats have at least one. They’ll be in and out of your flat on a regular basis, almost as if they live there. They aren’t afraid to knock on your door at any time of day and will soon become one of your closest friends.