t’s happened again. IWhile my friends in London chill out and enjoy the dawning of winter, here we are – frantically searching for houses and scrambling for viewings like there’s no tomorrow. It’s natural to think that we should be looking for next year’s houses… Next year? Unfortunately, here at Exeter Uni, we are all fierce animals looking for good shelter, and that means the housing craze is pushed earlier every year, but this year it’s gone from bad to worse. So yes, it is time to panic.
The housing process is long and tedious; not to mention that if you’re a fresher, you’re going to have to decide on who to live with based on two months of friendship. Tough. You start off delving into the depths of uncountable housing websites only to come up empty-handed, then you and your future housemates visit every single housing agency you can find. And when you finally find houses that you like, you make loads of calls and emails to line up viewings. Apocalypse hits when you find out that your house was snatched up just hours before you signed the contract, so you settle for your backup choice… only to find out that the same has happened, so you settle for your backup’s backup. But not all hope is lost. Although panic has commenced, it is still important to be optimistic. It is still November, and you will find a house.
So yes, it is time to panic.
If you are a second year like me (or a non-fresher looking for a house), I’d say it’s good that we know what to expect, but experience only brings us so far, because we can’t possibly expect the unexpected. My friends and I had agreed to move into a student flat next year, the same flat which some of them are living in right now. They told the landlord they wanted to continue to live in the same flat next year, as they had the right to do so. It was all going well until, well, mayhem. There were, long story short, “communication issues” and the flat was let to another group despite the fact that we had an agreement (or at least we thought we did). We went for a couple of viewings, and after missing out on another good flat, we finally got hold of a good house near campus and signed the contract last week.
It was quite a surprise to me when a friend said she saw people queueing up outside Cardens early in the morning to enquire about houses and book viewings. This is the state of things now. People literally have to abandon lectures to speak to housing agents because the process is simply too stressful to bear with any longer. With the housing craze coinciding with deadline season every year, managing everything is certainly no easy feat. The Guild always tells you that you don’t have to worry about housing so soon, and you can’t blame them for saying that because they’re trying to help students de-stress. They tell you to wait until the housing fair because there’ll be new houses on the market by then. Not to say that that’s false, but if you wait until then it’ll simply be too late, not to mention the fair will be crawling with hundreds of people who are hungrier than you.
Without a doubt, if everyone took it easy and handled housing next year, all hell would not break loose and people will be less intense. Sadly, reality prompts a more competitive scenario. It’s like when you score 80% on an exam and the class average is 85%. It’s not that you did badly, it’s just that everyone else did very well. Regarding housing, you have to stay with the pack; when everyone moves, you move. Or else you’ll be easily eliminated. It’s a sad but cruel truth.
You might have already lost another house by the time you’ve read this far
You might have already lost another house by the time you’ve read this far. At this point in time, Pennsylvania Road and most of its nearby streets will be gone, but remember, optimism is key! Just because you’ve lost one doesn’t mean you can’t find something better! Time to expand the radius of your search, and put your focus on other areas like Union Road, St. James, Mount Pleasant or St. Davids. If you’ve already got a house, congratulations! If you’re still looking, all the best and don’t let the challenges deter you. We can try and hope for better next year, but it won’t happen. You’ve tried, Guild, it was a valiant effort. Given all the competitiveness, the stress for housing is only going to keep pushing forward every year.