I spent my first year at the University of Edinburgh in Pollock Halls, the University’s catered accommodation for undergraduates. I figured it would be a good opportunity to ease into university life - I would get to meet people in the dining hall and learn my way around a new city and new studies without worrying too much about what I was going to make to eat every day.
This ended up working out well for me! I enjoyed having a room to myself and found that it was big enough to comfortably keep all my clothes, books, and the occasional house plant or a bit of decoration. The shared pantry on my floor was also ideal - a good place to store snacks in the refrigerator, or study in if I needed to change my workspace but didn’t want to make a trek to the library.
Housekeeping was weekly and usually took about an hour. We were expected to clear our floor and as much desk space as possible so that the staff could clean without needing to move our things. I was unbelievably grateful for this since it was always nice to come back to a fresh room. I personally became very friendly with the housekeeping staff who would come by to clean my room - they were delightful and always happy to chat.
The catering was also very impressive. While I’m not vegetarian, one of my close friends was. She would rave about how the vegetarian options were delicious and varied, which she was not expecting from university accommodation. Breakfast was probably my favourite meal of the day, always very plentiful and hearty food. Dessert was my second favourite meal of the day since there were always ridiculously enjoyable sweets available at dinner. The food, overall, was also impressively healthy, with a great selection of fruits and salad available both at breakfast and dinner. Dinner usually had about three potential meals every night, and these meals would be changing often enough that people wouldn’t get bored with their options. Drinks were also varied - water, juice, soda, tea, coffee, and hot chocolate were all readily available.
Catering also made it much easier to meet new people, with shared meals being a great bonding experience. In my first week, every time I met someone I liked and found out they were in Pollock, we would immediately plan to eat dinner together at some point. I would run into people I’d met before but didn’t even know were in Pollock at the dining hall, which was always a nice surprise and a great way to get to know someone better. In fact, the people who I ate with the most often at Pollock ended up being my flatmates in my second year and are some of my best friends now!
Please note, this student was staying in this accommodation prior to COVID-19. Guidelines on dining and socialising are likely to change in line with Government guidance.