A housemate is for life, not just for Christmas…

This week’s post is quite long, because it’s a subject I think is quite important…

Every year, as early as Week 1 (!!!), I hear from concerned students asking whether they should already be worried about housing for their second year.

The answer is no.

Really.  Not even a little bit.  I promise.

Here’s the thing.  Every year, wild rumours fly – people will tell you there isn’t enough housing; that you absolutely need to have everything sorted right now or you’ll be homeless… one year I even heard that people were going to have to live in treehouses!  (Actually, that would have been pretty awesome…)

None of it is true – here are a few of the most common worries, debunked:

I heard the accommodation is really full this year – so surely next year all the houses in the city will be full?  Nope.  It’s true the University’s accommodation was fully booked this year, but the city as a whole has a massive supply of student accommodation – from shared houses to huge purpose-built developments.  Actually, there’s currently a surplus of student accommodation in Exeter, so please don’t feel pressured to sign up for the first thing you see.

I’m worried because I don’t have a group to live with.  Give yourself a break – it’s only Week 4!  It does – and should – take time to find people you’re comfortable with.  In fact, we know from our colleagues in the Students’ Guild Advice Unit that students who organise housing too quickly can really regret it.  Friendship groups can change or even break down throughout the year, but once you’ve signed a contract you’re committed to it (whether or not you’re still on speaking terms), so please don’t rush.

(If you feel you haven’t made many connections yet, don’t worry – it’s really normal for friendships to develop gradually rather than all at once in Freshers’ Week.  On top of your course, try volunteering, joining a society, or even looking for a part-time job – all are great ways to meet people.)

We’ve heard that if we don’t find a house soon, there won’t be anything left.  Actually, the opposite is true.  The Accommodation Office advertise several hundred properties from January every year – looking for housing before then means limiting your choices, and potentially missing out.

My advice is:

  • Relax.
  • Enjoy Term 1 – get to know the city, and the people around you.
  • Keep an eye out for the Housing Campaign – loads of useful tips and information from the Guild to help you with the process of finding accommodation.
  • In January, visit the Housing Fair – a massive annual event where you can meet loads of landlords and get a sense of just how many choices you have.
  • Then start to look (and remember, there’s still no rush).

Hopefully that relieves the pressure, but please do get in touch if you have any questions!

Residence Life Helen




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