student life

Finding Accommodation after a Year in Halls

Written by Saffronelizabeth

Will all the parties be here? Will people come out of their rooms in this block?

Believe it or not, these are the very shallow thoughts that travel through the nearly-a-student’s mind before heading to university. Applying for accommodation is a stressful process. You have to commit to living in that particular building, with those particular flatmates for an entire 9 months, with only a few holiday gaps inbetween. Effectively, flatmates will have blossomed from the status of strangers, so students are bound to worry which strange people they may be forced to share their breakfast with, staring over their coco-pops awkwardly.

When applying, the university require you to confirm a first and second choice, and acknowledge whether you’d prefer to be self-catered, catered, and a preference of an en-suite. In my case, there were only three types of accommodation to choose from, and the prospectus made it perfectly clear which was the ‘cooler’ place to live. Others had copious amounts of choice, so when they were finally allocated, half the time they had never even heard of the place.

Securing your first choice

As the case with my whole flat, we didn’t secure our first choice. This led my anxious mother to suggest ringing the university accommodation service up 15 times a day in attempt to secure my first choice. This was obviously too much effort for me and so I opted with the ‘maybe its fate that I’ve been put here?’ and just got on with it. I am pleased to have done so.

After a year (although not technically) of surviving the bustling experience of halls, with drunkards feeding other drunkards Nutella (a commodity a student can’t be without) out of their bedroom window at 4.20 am, we all then have to say our goodbyes and settle into a student house down the road. It’s an awkward situation really, as students enter the sphere of ‘residential areas’, we supposedly can no longer carry out the stereotypical student activities, such as being able to play music past 11pm, as I was kindly reminded by my future tenant this morning.

The House Hunt

The house hunt is harder than the halls hunt. As you are now deciding not just for yourself, but as a group of 9 opinionated students, disagreements are bound to happen and tensions rise. We’re thrown into the firing line and unwillingly rushed with little guidance. There is a huge surge for houses before Christmas, and with revision to be getting on with, you just want the whole process to be over and done with.

I wished for a magic house fairy to come and help (my mum) but it proved to be a time to have to do things on your own, which in a way was a good boost for my independence. But hours are spent trooping around properties, at a time where all 9 of you with different timetables need to be available, which is a battle in itself.

Sweaty boys in caves

A few of the houses we viewed were diabolical. Sweaty boys that were still asleep at four in the afternoon were awoken from their caves and we toured toilets that looked as if they’d never seen a smear of bleach.

Then there’s the constant criteria ticking in the back of my mind that my dad dictated to me the night before. Fire doors? Check. Smoke detectors? Check. Is there a window exit in the bedroom to jump out of in the event of a fire? Yes, but there’s a 10000 ft. drop!

But all rest assured, eventually you will find the house just right for you and your flatmates. Seal the deal before it goes!

For students now living in a house with bills not included, the once carefree mind shrivels and enters a world of joint bank accounts, choosing service providers, along with serious, mature discussions. Unlike halls, you also have to deal with deciding who gets which bedroom, which can be agreed fairly through the sorting of the hat, each picking out a folded piece of paper with a bedroom number on.

Or like my male flatmates did with their rooms, you can fight it out with a head war. Whoever moves their forehead first, loses. I think that’s how it goes?

What have your experiences been like when it comes to searching for student accommodation? Have your say in the comments section below, on Facebook or on Twitter.