An account of 51 weeks… OR Let’s get Personal

by Nina Christopoulou

“51 or 42 weeks? Or maybe less?” I thought to myself as I was trying to book what would be my safe haven for the upcoming year. When student life knocks on your door and tells you to leave your familiar surroundings, things can get a bit tricky. The house you will live in will play a major role in how your academic life unfolds, so it is important to feel that you have made the right choice. When I arrived at The Stay Club, exactly 52 weeks ago now, I didn’t know what to expect. The virtual tours of the rooms certainly helped, but that wasn’t what I was curious about. It was important to feel the ambiance of the place, see the expressions of the people (both residents and employees alike).


In the mayhem of the check in day I could see the building was beautiful, but that was about all I could see. Admittedly, it wasn’t until the first couple of weeks passed, and my daze from the change in countries faded, that I started to realize the value of the place. Mainly, there is the correct balance between solitude and loudness. You can find your alone time whenever you want to, but in those occasions that you would rather not be locked up in your studio your options are endless. The easiest one is the lobby, but there are also classrooms packed with people who will be in the same stressed situation as you and of course the patio or the entrance.


My personal experience dictates that I become somewhat of a weirdo when immerged in situations, people, or places that excite this unfamiliar feeling in me – it’s as if I lag functionality at that moment. Naturally, this creates a great amount of stress for a newcomer; and yet I soon realized it was not necessary for me to feel this way. The environment was somehow able to make the transition easier, and the unfamiliar feeling faded sooner than I thought.


What surprised me most in my experience though, were the weeks leading up to my dissertation. The dissertation, as the pinnacle of student life’s stress, an accumulation of every little source of anxiety you have ever experienced all at once, is a challenging time. And during that challenging time, you need all the support you can get!

When I decided to finish the bigger part of the project while in London, I was not quite sure about my choice. In a surprising turn of events though, it was at that time that it became evident that The Stay Club was more than a student accommodation; rather, it was a community on its own merit. From the polite and always smiling café owners, to the reception team that will always make you laugh with one pawn or another, or the maintenance team that greets you every time despite rushing for one thing or the other, you can feel a part of this place in some way or another.

Personally, it was at that time when my 12 hour shifts at the lobby would be made bearable by the fact that I was in fact at that lobby, that I realised I had to pat myself in the back for choosing to stay here!