Guest blog: Going privately? It will be alright!

In Monday’s blog we talked you through the various private sector housing options which you may be needing to consider. Today’s blog is a guest post from Beth, who is a student ambassador and also working with us this summer in our Accommodation Comms Team. She shares her experience about coming to Exeter as a late applicant and needing to secure somewhere to live in the private sector.

Getting into university is so exciting and with that comes the whole university experience that one imagines, hears about from parents, siblings and from friends but that is also shown on television shows and in every American sorority movie. If you are reading this then you know the story I’m talking about, especially when it comes to where you live and moving. Picture the scene: girl/boy heads to university, all their things packed up. If you’re headed down the Legally Blonde route, everything is colour coordinated and you’ve prepared yourself for every eventuality; you’ve even bought a full length mirror to get those night out pictures. Once the parents or guardians have set off, you finally get to meet the flatmates: if we’re thinking Pitch Perfect – someone we are pretty certain isn’t much like us and is perfectly comfortable with their own friends, or from Grown-ish a meeting that will change our whole entire university experience, because that person will become your best friend for years to come. Either way that perfect picture has always been ‘at university’; it’s never mattered what type of room it is, or whether it is catered or self-catered.

So to learn that living in university residences may no longer be an option can be disheartening, but as someone who experienced this herself, I can tell you private housing is only what you make of it, so let’s make it worthwhile.

Here are a few tips that really helped me and in reality can work for any accommodation.

  1. Get to know who you will be living with. Moving away from home is stressful enough without being upset about your living situation, so once you get unpacked, head towards wherever your social area is and get talking. It may be easier to do this in a different environment, so make the first move, knock on everyone’s doors, introduce yourself and suggest you head to the local pub or grab something to eat. Be the ice-breaker; you may even bond about the circumstances you’ve found yourselves in.
  2. Get organised. Especially in private housing you have the added factor of a landlord, sometimes information needs to be shared to everyone about payment or house repairs and maybe even house viewings. It’s also in your best interests to be proactive in setting house rules and standards such as cleaning duties and rotas, agreements about people having guests over. Are you going to share household bills? If so how will payment work? How will you sort out house disputes? Will you grocery shop online together for a house delivery? What about having house dinners (themed cooking nights are a good idea, you learn new recipes and get a break from cooking)? Exchange contact numbers, or Facebook accounts, and form a central method of communication.
  3. Don’t isolate yourself. This works in two ways: university is a big place with many different personalities, so socialise with people on your course, join different societies and clubs, keep yourself busy; you can have more friends than just your housemates. But your housemates are also the people you will live with for the year so spend time together, whether that’s having games nights, watching TV together or having a meal; strengthening that relationship only betters your ability to live together harmoniously. Better yet try to mix groups together; friendships are to be shared.
  4. Finally, don’t dwell on things. Whatever is meant to be, will be and every opportunity is a new opportunity. You are not confined to a room and as you make friends you’ll find that your time is spent on campus, going out, in other people’s residences and soon in your own house. Everyone lives a different university experience and this one is just yours.

So whether you get to live like Gossip Girl‘s Blair Waldorf and Chuck Bass, or more like Poppy Moore in Wild Child, university is a brand new adventure so have fun, make the most of it and please, don’t go down the Bad Neighbours route; you can have fun whilst not being an absolute menace of a neighbour!

Thank you so much to Beth for sharing her positive insight and proof that you can still have the university experience even if you don’t get into the residence you had in mind. A couple of final points from us:

Completing your eInduction and booking your arrival
You will need to complete the online eInduction before you are able to book your arrival slot (not applicable to students who are holding an offer with one of our Nominations residences). The eInduction provides useful information about your residence and what you need to know prior to your arrival and during your stay. We recommend viewing our ‘How to complete the online eInduction‘ and ‘How to book my arrival slot’ videos for advice.

Been offered a room with one of our nomination partners?
Please remember that all your contract and arrival information will come via our partners, so make sure you check your emails to be up to date with the process of securing a room with them. They will also provide you with the necessary information for arranging your arrival.

Accommodation Meridith

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