First off, you shouldn’t pick this hall initially for a simple reason. It is the furthest hall from imperial – 1 hr by walk and 30 mins by tube if you’re fast. Besides the distance, don’t forget your transport costs and in this case, getting the monthly travel card would be the best at 80 pounds per month which you would have unlimited access to buses and trains from zone 1 to 2. Also, because it is situated in waterloo, room prices can get quite high depending on which one you get, so better off not to take the risk. And if you are still so damn onz, don’t forget that when you need to make back and forth travels either to shower or to grab the lab report you forget to bring, it’s not just a 5 minutes walk back. Additionally, from personal experience, you will have to wake up at least 1.5 hrs before any lecture time to secure enough room to get ready and make it in time. So if you don’t have xenia in your accommodation list, your first check list to the path of university life can be said ticked. Now, if that didn’t happen to you read on so I can convince you why you life is not that bad after all.
Living in Xenia for me was many things. Besides the little complaints about how your friends can just walk back and sleep and come back for the next lecture, Xenia matures your lifestyle a lot. I developed the ability to be punctual and also the ability to appreciate aloneness and independence. Because there was no friends in Xenia initially to cook, do laundry or go to university with me, I figured everything out myself and now, I can do all of them confidently. You get your room cleaned every week, the place is very secured and you have a beautiful courtyard as well. Xenia also boasts about the biggest rooms in Imperial accommodation but I got a small one so maybe that’s not so convincing. In terms of groceries and food, you have 3 groceries in a row, sainsbury (most well-renowned supermarket in london), tesco and marks & spencer just 3 mins away. However, they are all only small stores but good enough to provide the necessities of life. Restaurants can be expensive because of the location but you have so many choices to choose from, nandos, subway, wasabi (a cheap jap restaurant) and quick grabs for coffee such as upper crust. You have the city in your control, london eye is just 10 mins walk away, the IMAX cinema is your neighbour and waterloo station is the hub to everywhere in london connecting 3 major lines, jubilee, bakerloo and northern. One thing you can beat all other accommodations is that, travelling to covent garden or leicester square (i.e. chinatown) is 3 stations away and 20 mins by walk. Trust me, all your friend outings are going to be somewhere there, maybe.
Living far also means that you’ll appreciate time even more. While people sleep till 5 mins before lectures, you will be travelling in the tube for 30 mins and you will be walking. This is when you read, think about what you didn’t get in lectures, make plans, sort of a time to self-reflect. You see more to everything, people in general and their lives, how population move by watching which stop is highly in demand at peak hours. So if you are looking for experience and adventure, Xenia is a challenge for you but I would suggest you think twice before making this option but I can guarantee you that even if you did, if you’re optimistic and positive, nothing can stop you.
Contributed by: Tan Eu Chian (2nd year Aeronautical engineering)
Personally, I was really bummed out when I got Xenia as my hall. Rule of thumb, if you put Xenia in your list of accommodation choices, you’re gonna get Xenia. But I have to say it has really grown on me. It is a 30 min journey to South Kensington by tube, and that can be a pain, especially at rush hour, but I’ve come to love my daily travels. It gives me time to kind of ‘zone out’ for a minute and destress (almost). Xenia is located in Waterloo, which happens to be one of the most well connected tube stations in London. If you like metropolitan life, (ie travelling, the sights and sounds of the city) Waterloo is great for that. You can basically hear Big Ben from your kitchen window. Xenia is a pretty small hall, about 150 of us live here, and it gives us a great sense of community. Compare that to the maybe 600ish people to live in Southside alone, we’re really tight knit. The friends that I’ve made here are the type of friends I know I will have forever. Living in Princes Gardens is great, mostly due to the proximity to uni, but in the end, thats all there is to it, well in my opinion anyway. Waterloo is one of the most sought out locations in London, and you’re probably never gonna get a chance to live here again, unless you become a millionaire or something, and that really does make Xenia special. If history repeats itself, most of you that get put into Xenia probably aren’t gonna be too happy, but trust me on this when I tell you, you’re about to have the best year of your life.
Contributed by: Teo Li Vern (2nd year Mechanical Engineering)