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The reality of ‘student living’

With second term closing in chances are you’ve chosen a place to live next year. As a first year it’s pretty exciting choosing out your first student house. As a second or third year the process might seem a little more laborious. Still you’re excited for move in day. There’s a lot of buzz around what ‘student living’ is really like…here’s a few things I know to be true;

Keeping on top of cleaning

You and all your friends go into getting a student house promising not to be the messy one. Laying out a general rule to keep communal spaces clean never really works out. With 4-6 people all on their own schedule it’s very difficult to stay on top of cleaning. By the time one person’s cleaned up after themselves someone else swoops in to mess it up again!? This doesn’t mean you have to live surrounded by mouldy bread and sour milk…a little clean every now and then is better than no clean. Big life lesson – beware of deadline season!! You’ll never have known mess like it when no one has time to breathe let alone unload the dishwasher.

Organising the Fridge

There will be arguments about the fridge and it’s completely unavoidable. I’m sure we all remember from food technology lessons how a fridge is supposed to be organised. Raw meat at the bottom, dairy products on the middle shelf and liquids in the door. Scrap all of that because there is no way six 18-21 yr olds are going to be able to organise that on a daily basis. Especially when there’s six different food shops each week. What you’ll learn is label everything – especially cheese! Be prepared that things will go missing, your mayonnaise will run out faster and your cereal box will be noticeable lighter.

Water pressure

What’s the point in having a house with three showers if you can only use one at a time? Water pressure in student housing is abysmal and it will annoy you to no end. A ten minute shower can turn into a half an hour battle of balancing the hot and cold water so not to scold or freeze yourself. Then if someone so much as flushes a toilet or turns on a tap you’re left with only dribbles of water. Stood in the shower, covered in bubbles that sting your eyes you pray blindly the water kicks in soon only for it to be icy cold. You’ll never appreciate your shower at home more. If it gets really bad you could always resort to showering at the gym?

Noisy housemates and 9ams

Living with six people in a house is going to be noisy, no surprises there. Normally it’s nice having a social house, but when you want to sleep things can get tense. No one likes getting up for 9ams, less so on three hours sleep. Best way to approach this is respect the people you live with and (hopefully) they’ll respect you too. The reality of living with a big group of people is you’re not always going to get peace and quiet when you need it most…or much privacy.

Landlords and letting agencies

Student letting agencies are notoriously unorganised, some are better than others and it’s definitely worth ‘shopping around’. Don’t be swayed by a really nice house with a terrible letting agency – it’s not worth it. It’s not uncommon to be left waiting weeks maybe months for maintenance issues to be sorted. This can get you pretty annoyed but it’s best to keep on their good side. After all it’s up to them to give you your deposit back.

Student living is really exciting, the independence you get really prepares you for life outside your parents home but there’s a few realities to come to terms with. None are deal-breakers just new challenges. Living with a bunch of people from different backgrounds will teach you a lot. Whether that’s becoming more tolerant or how to boil an egg they’re all important lessons – enjoy the learning curve.