Every time I mentioned to a new friend in Freshers’ Week that I lived in Holland Hall, I definitely felt judged. But seriously, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. For one thing, I want to dispel the myth that everyone in Holland Hall is a Jack Wills clad toff from Kensington who travels to the Forum by taxi and gets drunk on Cristal. Sure, I’ve met a few who gave me the opposite kind of judgement during a cosy chat about prep schools, where I admitted I was state comprehensive and proud. But honestly, I chose Holland Hall purely because I can’t cook to save my life and the idea of sharing a room with a snoring stranger kinda put me off Mardon.
Nobody ever told me that you have to get up before nine every day if you want breakfast. Even then you might find the catering guys scoffing the last of the sausages if you’ve slept in until 9.15. So I’m trekking to town every week to stock up on microwavable food the same as anyone in selfcatered halls because, like most students, I’m a zombie in the mornings. I’ve visited friends in Lafrowda and I’m seriously jealous. They can eat whatever they want, whenever they want. At Holland you have to eat dinner insanely early (it starts at 5.15 and ends at seven) but believe me, you’ve got to get in quick unless you want to be starving in the seemingly endless queue. If like me you have lectures that end at six, in which the overenthusiastic professor systematically overruns by at least fifteen minutes every time, followed by the trek from the business school all the way up Forum Hill, then by the time you finally get to the canteen, chances are the guy in front will have nabbed the last curly fries and you’ll be munching rabbit food from the salad section instead.
But I can’t complain, right? There’s the ensuite and the nice big bedroom thrown into the deal as well. Not to mention, the hill means waking up to stunning views every day. Or maybe not. I saved a little cash by opting out of the view, so my window looks out on a very attractive bush littered with trash. The rooms are a good size, it’s true (bigger than my room at home for sure) but the showers leak everywhere. Every time I clean my teeth or take a piss, I gotta manoeuvre around the massive puddle on the floor which just never seems to drain away.
I know I’m lucky, with my lovely top-tier halls eating up my maintenance loan and savings from a gap year spent folding jeans in Debenhams. Believe me, when I arrive for dinner at the right time and it’s all cooked for me, I’m totally grateful. I appreciate not having to queue for the shower in the morning and most people I’ve met are genuinely nice folk who, like me, just didn’t trust themselves with any cooking apparatus more complicated than a microwave.
So next time you meet somebody from Holland Hall, don’t judge them. They could be your stereotypical rugby player from Mayfair who FaceTimes his polo ponies when he’s not making use of his extortionate gym membership, it’s true. But we’re not all bad. And it’s not necessarily Buckingham Palace in comparison to your place, either.
Hannah Weissbookmark me