One of the best things about moving away to University is living with your friends. In the first year of University you usually live in halls of residence. Here you have no say about who you live with. From personal experience, the outcomes of this can be mixed. Some people ended up living with people they really got on with and went on to live with them in their second and third years and others, like myself, unfortunately didn’t have much in common with their flatmates in halls. Therefore, choosing your own student accommodation with your friends is great!
I found that there was plenty of student accommodation in Nottingham, where I studied, and found it easy to find a suitable student home. However, once I have found my perfect student home, I soon discovered that there are other things I needed to consider in order to ensure my student home is a happy one. Here are some of the issue and solutions to these problems.
The first issue is choosing rooms. Inevitably all the rooms in a house are not going to be the same size. When choosing your student accommodation, make sure you think carefully about the rooms. Would you be happy whichever room you get? Sometimes rooms are charged at different rates due to size which can help in choosing but alternatively I found the best way was always names out of a hat method. It definitely saves any arguments and if you are in the same property for more than a year, you could always switch for the second year.
The next issue can be money for bills, food etc. In some places the utilities are included, which makes this easier but if not you will need to ensure bills are paid for fairly. In order to save money it is important that everyone gets involved in saving energy to reduce bills. Sharing washing machine/tumble dryer loads, turning of lights etc all helps to reduce costs. I would also be wary of using electric heaters as although these may be useful in big old houses like the ones I lived in in Nottingham, they can cost a lot. Extra jumpers/slippers etc are much cheaper!
If you all eat similar food cooking together can save lots of money. Even if you don’t cook together buying basics such as pasta, tea, coffee, sugar, milk etc in larger pack sizes can save you lots of money. I always found that kitchens in student accommodation were on the smaller side, so buying food together also saves space.
When living in halls of residence, there is usually a cleaner for shared areas, but in a student house you will need to do this together. It is important that everyone gets involved in this to make it fair as people not pulling their weight is often a big cause of petty arguments which could easily be avoided. Although it may sound boring, have a rota for things like cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, living room and washing up, will save a lot of stress in the long run. You may find that everyone has their own preference or may want to change it up so everyone does different things. The most important thing is to stick to it and make sure that you get your weekly/daily jobs done. There is nothing worse than arguing over whose turn it is to do the hovering!
If you are all on the same course, this can be useful as you will have similar deadlines and workloads, but remember to be mindful of others. Of course, you want to have fun in your house, but if there are times when people want to get on with work (it does happen occasionally), allow them to do this.
Living in a student home can be absolutely fantastic. If you deal with all the boring stuff efficiently, you can then make sure you enjoy living with your friends and ensure those friendships last for the rest of your lives.