Now that exams are over, January means only one thing for many people, it means the challenge of finding a house for next year. To those annoying people who already have signed contracts, please stop reading. I am directing this to the majority of us who have been thinking about housing for the last month or so but have not managed to get plans together or anything signed.
Luckily, we still have time. There is the notorious housing fair this week where hundreds of desperate people will try to scramble together groups to sign up to the first house they can find. Then there is the house finding night where hopefully people will manage to find people they want to sign up to live with for a year after meeting each other for only one night. Remember the things to look for in your housemate. Yes it might seem fun to go for the wildest, coolest people you can find. But at 3am when you have an exam the next day and your originally ‘fun’ and now ‘annoying’ housemates are partying you might reconsider your original decisions. So make sure you ensure your future housemates are people you can live with, eat with, work with and feel comfortable enough to discuss boring bits such as bills and who stole the milk with.
My biggest question for the Uni is why do we make house hunting so difficult? Why do we put so much pressure in the first few months of the year to sign up to a house for a full 11 months? The University does a lot to help us on our quest to ensure that we all manage to find someone and somewhere to live.
Having had my own drama trying to get a house sorted for next year has shown me how we all need to take time over this decision and even if we feel like we have none, we really do have time. Personally, from being everything from a group of nine, to a five to an eleven I can safely say that the stress of house finding and housemate organising is bad enough without the extreme time pressures. Do these days of suppressed stress and expectation help? Does it really help to place all of the pressure onto one night to find housemates for those who have not yet, and to put all of the pressure onto one day where most houses within Exeter that are worth having and have not yet been taken go.
My advice is to not worry about it. Housing will work out (I am sure of it.) There are always options and people always find a good house. Don’t settle for rubbish housemates. Student accommodation may never been the Ritz but as long as you are living with good – or at least not terribly annoying people who won’t do their dishes – then the year will still be a good one. At the end of a day a roof, a bed and a toilet are all you really need and everything else can be worked out. Try to make sure that you look around before you choose your first house. Don’t leave it to the housing fair and put all of your eggs into one basket.
Housing is only one small part of uni life and although it can seem a bit like not sorting housing out this week will mean you will be homeless for a year. It is not true. It will work out, students always manage to find some accommodation and in a city as big as Exeter and at a uni as substantial as ours every student will find somewhere to live happily next year. SO make use of all of the different resources the Uni has, get SID to check the contracts, make decisions with care but also promptly to avoid missing out on things.