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  • A large hill
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      16.10.2001 23:12
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      • "A large hill"

      Where you stay at university can be an important factor in your happiness during your student life. The range of accommodation available to students is fairly wide; student halls of residence, student shared flats, private flats or houses, or even staying at home! I decided to write this opinion as I couldn’t find much on staying in Glasgow on dooyoo, or the Internet as a whole. I recently had to choose accommodation in Glasgow, as I am just starting University, so I’ll try and give details on what’s on offer, and more specifically details of “MacLay Hall”, the student hall of residence that I was allocated. = Options Available to Students = Staying at Home – For me this was impractical, living near London, but studying in Glasgow! I however, did live reasonably locally, and commuted into the city by train for “Fresher’s Week”. Around 50% of students at Glasgow University choose the option of living at home, as they are all within commuting distance. The main advantage of living at home would be there is no need to up-root all of your belongings, the change of life is easier to handle, your home is probably a reasonable place to live. The disadvantages of living at your home is that you may feel isolated if you have to travel back every night, missing out on some of the student entertainments, life and culture. The money you save by not staying in a hall is counter-balanced by the money you spend on travel. Private Flats or Houses – Some students opt to buy their own apartment, flat, or similar. This may be a costly option, but could be looked on as an investment. If in a suitable location in relation to the university it may be easy to sell to another student when you’ve finished. You may also consider renting and generating income from it. A private house can be a good thing, it’s a big step into the world, you can do what you want in it – The
      re are hardly any real regulations imposed on you. However, as with “staying at home”, this may isolate you a bit if you’re too far away. The community spirit of staying in a shared student location may be lost. This isn’t the case if you rent to other students… Halls of Residence – This seemed like the logical option for me. Glasgow University has a wide range of Halls, most of which are fairly close to the University area. There is also a selection of catering, or self-catering halls. I was allocated MacLay Hall when I applied. The same flat that my mother stayed in some 20 years previously (!). = MacLay Hall in Detail = Location – MacLay hall is centred around “18 Park Terrace”, looking out over Kelvingrove Park, atop a large hill. The hall is ideally placed about 5 minutes walk from the University buildings, and 10 minutes to the QMU (Queen Margaret Union) and the Science buildings (where most of my lectures are). This walk takes you through Kelvingrove park, which makes a pleasant walk in the mornings. However, at night time you aren’t recommended to walk through the park (it’s dark and scary at night!), so the de-tour around the edge takes a few more minutes. The GU (Glasgow Union) is just on the other side of the park, with it’s clubs and bars it makes for a good night out (if you’re cheap!). Also within reasonable walking distance are a good selection of pubs, shops and off-licenses. One of the closest pubs is the Hogshead, which is quite nice for hanging around in, “Nicco’s” provides chips and pizza on the way home from a night out, reasonable prices, good food. You will get fit if you stay at MacLay since the hill through the park is a real killer, your calf muscles will bulge like never before. Type of Building – MacLay Hall is quite nice to look at. It is a collection of several houses along Park Te
      rrace. The buildings look reasonably old, with quite a bit of character compared to newer student developments. The stone is a nice yellow colour, and the buildings are fairly well kept. Inside the buildings the layout is like a little maze. There is no “standard” house. It takes a few days to get used to finding your way around, so if you decide to come, go walkabout for a while, finding toilets, showers etc. Facilities within the Halls – There are several facilities within the halls, toilets and showers spread throughout, even some proper bathrooms if you prefer that to showering. The showers are ok, fairly powerful jet of water, and quite hot. I don’t know if I’m just lucky, but I hardly have any problem with queuing for the showers. If you make sure you have a “standard time” in the mornings and get into a routine then you can take a shower when you want. The toilets are standard, kept clean, not quite the comfort of “home” but I’m sure that you’ll get used to it. Toilet paper: One up from “school tracing paper”, but still not “padded velvet”. The laundry is located in the basement of house 18. There are several washing machines (one of which is a bit dodgy, find out which one before you use them), a few tumble dryers, some racks for airing clothes, and a few irons. The laundry is free, so use it regularly. There is sometimes a problem with queuing, so when you’ve got a free minute in the middle of the day then stick a few loads on to wash, avoid the busy evening times. There is a quiet study room in my building, as I am sure there are in other houses. Useful if you want somewhere peaceful to go that isn’t your room. There are just a small selection of desks and chairs to study at. The common room is quite a nice place to hang out. It is on the ground floor of house 18, the main building. Quite spacious with a l
      arge coffee table, a selection of sofas and padded chairs. It’s a nice place to meet people and socialise. It also had a piano (they’ve just moved it, but I’m sure they’ll move it back sometime), and a drinks vending machine. You can just sit around and talk there, or go to sleep quietly after a heavy morning of doing nothing, or studying. When you arrive at MacLay I’d advise finding and sitting in the common room for a while, it’s a great way to make friends. Do it within a week or so, otherwise you might feel “left out” if you join in at a later time. Don’t worry though, everyone will be very friendly. There are several kitchens around the halls, as MacLay is self-catering. Each kitchen may be shared between around 8 people. In each kitchen there is reasonable storage space for your food and cooking utensils. You can put your own padlock on your cupboard so to protect your food supply (this is advisable). There are normally a few fridges and freezers in the kitchen, make sure that they are set to a good temperature otherwise your food will go off (speaking from experience here…). The ovens have grills and hobs on them for cooking whatever you want. More conveniently there is also a microwave and a few kettles (Pot Noodle time!). When you arrive try and find the good cooks, or people willing to try and become good cooks. Invite people over for meals and share food. It’s so much easier to either work together (bigger, more varied meals), or take it in turns to cook (risky, if your friends are food-poisoning-epicentres). Tip: Bring a toastie maker, or some other fancy cooking utensil, it’ll make you popular, and your stomach will thank you for it. Rooms – I was quite lucky with my room, it is conveniently located on the ground floor, with windows overlooking the park. It is a shared rooms, you can also get single and triple rooms. Having been in several other
      peoples rooms I can say that its basically luck as to whether you get a good room. None are particularly bad, its just some are better than others. Some may be on the small side, but the triple rooms do offer quite a lot of space. In each room you get a bed, a cupboard, a set of three drawers, a desk, a few shelves and a sink. A reasonable amount of space for all of your things. I did buy a cheap set of plastic drawers from the local John Lewis to store more stuff in. The rooms are fairly nice with high ceilings, and kept clean by the staff (that’s clean, not tidy). The water that comes out of the taps in your rooms may sometimes be a tad murky, not something you’d want to drink, but its alright for a quick shave or brushing your teeth. The kitchen taps seem fine though. A good tip is to buy a water filter if you have the murky-water problem, you can pick them up for about £10 at John Lewis. The rooms seem to be kept well heated, or at least for the past week they have. It may be an idea to bring a fan, which my room-mate did, so that you can cool down a bit. It makes it a nicer place to have a social conversation with your friends in. The only drawback about the rooms at MacLay hall is the lack of Internet connection in your room. There are public phones in each of the houses, but it’s still annoying not being able to check your email at home. The Uni facilities for email are good though, and it’s only a short walk. = Conclusion = In conclusion I think that staying in a hall of residence is a fairly reasonable choice for most people. MacLay has a friendly student atmosphere, and provides not bad facilities. It is conveniently located in relation to both shops and the university itself. As always, try and visit the halls that you are thinking of applying to, walk around and take a look – It’s where you might be living for the next year or so…choose well... Jamie

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