Like most university students, you probably spent your first year in halls. Personally, I loved my accommodation. Well, despite the incessant fire alarm which insisted to go off at the worst moments: mid-shower, dozing off the night before an exam, dinner cooking away in the oven. Yeah. That part was never fun.
June comes around and it’s time to wave goodbye to the luxury of ensuite, similar sized bedrooms and the short walk to campus as you prepare yourself for the move to student housing.
This can be exciting. You’re moving in with friends, have spent months looking for the ideal place, and the additional bills mean you have even more independence than you did the first year. That being said, student housing itself is not all sunshine and rainbows. It’s your first year in a privately rented student house, and things aren’t quite so idyllic.
From idyllic to infernal
Unless you happen to be moving into a swanky new house, chances are, you new student housing won’t be nearly as luxurious as first year. I lost count of how many properties we visited that were infested with damp walls, narrow staircases and odd sized rooms.
We eventually found a flat in which all the rooms were around the same size. This luckily freed us from the whole ‘who will have the box-room’ argument (trust me, they tore friendships apart and they hadn’t even moved in yet).
In terms of the deposit, be prepared for the brewing animosity you’ll feel towards your landlords as they try and claim money from you. In our case, we only had to pay a small price for a cleaning fee and received the majority of our deposit back. However, upon arrival, be sure to snap pictures of any damage and markings around your new abode, alongside an inventory.
Moreover, be ready for appliances to be breaking down left right and centre. I think we cello-taped our freezer door on at some point, a futile attempt at fixing what was undeniably broken. A week later our fridge relocated itself to the front garden, with a new, and to our delight, slightly bigger one taking its place.
The majority of student housing at my university are on really long roads and the surrounding area is primarily dominated by students. This is great considering that you will probably live within close proximity to your friends; ordering taxis is a doddle, pre-drinks are only around the corner, and you can pop around to your mates at the drop of a hat.
However, the whole student area thing isn’t so great when instead of the cheerful chirp of birds, you wake up at 8 am to house music thumping through your walls. This will be accompanied by the sound of drunken students stumbling over wheelie bins which are sporadically sprawled across the street.
This by no means came as a surprise. However, the noise soon becomes intolerable with exams impending and you’re trying to get your sleep.
Student housing is noisy.
Keeping your student house spick and span at all times is impossible. Accept that it’s never going to be spotless. Nonetheless, as a piece of advice, don’t be that person who leaves their plates mounting on the surface. Just get it over and done with and wash as you go.
Cleaned the kitchen? Gold star. Give it five minutes and a few pizza boxes and a trail of crumbs will appear, erasing any proof that you got your hands dirty.
Expect arguments and cleaning rota galore.
Student life is bizarre.
One minute everyone will be locked away in their rooms accompanied by an endless pile of snacks, their stress levels reaching their max.
Next minute, you’ll hear HSM blasting out from the living room or a chick flick rolling on the TV in spite of the 9 am French exam the following morning.
As with the first, your second year is all about adapting. During my first year, I remember merely eating a packet of scotch eggs for dinner and asking whether I was in any form of a routine is laughable. However, during my second year, I got into the swing of things and I found a routine around the cleaning and the inevitable noise.
While this post hasn’t sold the university lifestyle, it’s genuinely been the best time of my life so far and student housing is all part of the experience.
What’s your experience been like with student housing? Do you have any tips for those transitioning from first years halls?