A new year. A new influx of Freshers. A new place to live. It’s safe to say that moving into the University’s newest halls has been anything but boring so far. It’s taken me a while to get used to the noises of crowds returning from Jesters at 4 in the morning, and the wonderful sounds of cruise ships docking at 5, but that’s what the snooze button is for, right?
With Mayflower being so new and alien to many people, here is a list of the ten best things I’ve discovered about living here so far:
- Boats, boats, boats – With the docks only being a 20-minute walk away, it’s no surprise that I have been greeted in the morning to a view from the kitchen window of numerous cruise ships docked nearby. If the weather outside was too bad to see them, it’s always possible to hear them – the noise of their horns really carries and has most likely woken up many a Mayflower resident rather abruptly some days.
- Club class – If you fancy a decent club night out in Bedford Place, Oceana or Switch, they are all within walking distance so you aren’t subject to any large taxi fare or long walk home at whatever early hour in the morning you decide to go home and sleep before that 9am lecture you know you need to go to.
- Shopping ‘til you drop – Even with the limited income we have as students, I have often found myself wandering round The Marlands and West Quay longingly looking at that Jack Wills coat or Hollister dress that I know I can’t afford but still desperately want. They are, after all, only a short walk from the halls so are super easy to get to.
- Cheaper shops – Unlike pretty much all of the other halls, our nearest supermarket isn’t the Sainsbury’s in Portswood, or the Tesco Express on London Road. I’m pretty sure that I’ve managed to spend 50% less on food than I thought I would, just because the ASDA nearby is often a lot cheaper than most other stores.
- Transport is easy – It’s very easy to get anywhere in Southampton once you leave the halls. Whether it’s heading up to campus from the bus stop, or a longer trip home for a weekend – from Mayflower, it’s easy. Southampton Central Station is a 2 minute walk away and they’ve even given us a bus stop just outside the front gates. Although be warned, be prepared to be standing on the morning ride to campus as everyone will want to be on that 8:25 bus.
- Parks and Recreation – If you don’t fancy being on the busy bus in the morning or if you manage to miss it, it’s easy enough to walk through Watt’s Park to get a different bus from elsewhere. With East Park and Mayflower Park also nearby, it’s quite easy to go for a nice run if you fancy, or if not just a quiet walk.
- The View from Here – As two of the blocks in Mayflower are at least 12 stories high, most people are subject to great views of the city from their kitchens. The lower floors aren’t so lucky, but if you’ve managed to win in the flat lottery and find yourself looking out either over the docks, West Quay or even past the Guildhall, it’s amazing what you can see on a clear day. If you’ve not managed to be as fortunate, you may still be able to see the fantastic row of takeaways on Commercial Road or that amazing multi-story car park on the opposite side.
- We didn’t start the fire! – Living in Mayflower for 7 weeks, we’ve already experienced our fair share of fire drills and fire alarms, the first being the 1am before the first day of lectures. I myself may not have had to evacuate as many times as Block B (they’re on the twenty-something one now), but it’s safe to say, we are all very aware of the procedure in case of a fire now; where to stand; what not to do; and that it is okay to take your breakfast down with you if you are pushed for time.
- That’s entertainment! – Mayflower is also pretty central to two of the larger places for alternate entertainment to club nights in Southampton – the Mayflower Theatre and the O2 Guildhall. Being neighbours of the theatre, it’s often hard to resist the urge to go see what’s on and I’m sure many flats will find themselves drawn to the pantomime this year – who can resist Gok Wan as a fairy godmother? The Guildhall is also just a few minutes walk away, and with acts such as Gerard Way, Milton Jones and The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain all performing soon, there’s something for everyone coming up.
- It’s so new! – Finally, probably one of the best things about Mayflower is just how new it is! We are the first set of students to live here, and yes it may have had its problems to start with (delayed laundry opening and a temperamental water supply), but we are the first year, so everything is brand new – new kitchens, new rooms and probably best of all, new showers. Hopefully this means it will be a while before everything starts malfunctioning but we will have to wait and see.
Living in Mayflower may not be as close to campus as Glen Eyre, or Wessex Lane, but I definitely think the many other great things about living here far outweigh that.