Whether you’re heading to university this month, or you’re a hard third-year veteran; you’ll find that the type of accommodation you live it can seriously influence the way you live and work.
For example, my first year was spent in a not-so-optimal sleep pattern of 4am ‘til whatever time I had my first lecture the following day. No, not because I went out partying each and every night but because someone else did and proceeded to clash and clatter up the stairs upon their return and, ears less than functional were left screaming down the phone for the pizza man. A block of twenty-odd students is bound to be a hub of (somewhat) organised and eventful chaos, but with so much going on around the clock, getting time to yourself is incredibly difficult. And that’s great, at least for your Fresher’s year when you are meeting new people and trying new things and your work – let’s face it – can sometimes end up on the back burner. You never feel entirely alone in your halls like you sometimes can holed up in a house, and even if you are getting a little homesick you can always find someone or something to do to take your mind off it.
Whilst halls are busy and full of excitement, at some point you’ve got to fly the nest, and for most that usually comes at the point at which your degree really starts to count: your second year. There’s an academic shift between your first and second year and, in where your priorities lie, you tend see a massive shift from partying through the night to hitting up the library at some ungodly hour. And, this is really reflected in the move from halls to house; a house is a much better environment for academic study as there are fewer distractions and a more functional environment when you’re living with people you choose rather than people the university chose for you.
Arguably a house is a lot more work to maintain than halls, especially when you had the luxury of semi-catered meals and daily/weekly cleaners, but it also gives you a lot more freedom too. And that freedom can sometimes be used to sit and argue with your housemates about just who forgot to clean the kitchen or take out the bin. It’s definitely a learning curve you could do without during your first year when all of your relationships are shiny and new, but it’s something you can handle during your second year when you know, even if you fight over the state of the fridge or who took the last bit of milk, that you’re still going to be friends at the end of it. So whilst having your own four walls can sometimes seem like the worst thing in the world, it can also be the best: more homely rooms, a thermostat you can actually control, your very own living room, a free washing machine and tumble dryer, a space to throw your own house parties…