By Maxine Todd
Leaving school and moving on to university is an exciting yet daunting experience for anyone. Meeting new people, leaving some behind, and possibly even leaving your hometown for a new city: it’s a time of many changes in your life. After deciding what course to do and which unis will allow you to do it, it’s time to work out where and with whom you’re going to live.
Making the decision of where to live whilst studying is an important factor of student life and there are so many options to choose from, it’s a minefield! Do you live close enough to your chosen university to stay at home with your parents, or would you rather experience student halls? Could you rent your own flat or are your parents in the fortunate position to be able to buy you an apartment? Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose wisely, as where you live can totally impact on how you live.
Staying at Home
Having stayed at home for my first year of university, I can safely say that it provides a much easier life. Coming home to a cooked meal and a fridge full of snacks every night, having your parents do all the cleaning and washing up, and most importantly not having to pay any rent or bills.
Although it might be easier easier to live at home, it means being dependent on your parents, and having to put up with their nagging. You can’t do what you want, when you want and you have to clean up when you’re told to. For most people living at home also means travelling a fair distance to get to uni in the morning and to get home from nights out (unless you’re lucky enough to stay close to the city centre), therefore it can make you feel secluded from the student lifestyle of living in halls or a flat and rolling home at stupid o’clock.
If you don’t want to pay for your own food, rent or bills, and don’t mind nagging parents, then staying at home whilst at university is definitely for you.
Living In Halls
Living in halls is a great way to meet new people, especially if you are moving to a new city where you don’t know anyone. Private student accommodation, from the likes of Victoria Halls, IQ Accommodation or Fresh Student Living, allows you to meet people studying at a wide range of unis, from diverse backgrounds. Their central locations mean you are only ever a short walk away from your university and all the city’s facilities, shops and nightlife. Like private halls, uni specific halls are also only a stones throw away from the campus, meaning you can roll out of bed five minutes before your lecture and still make it on time.
The heating, electricity and internet are all included in your rent, so there is only one monthly or weekly payment, meaning less stress of organising finances. However, halls can be costly and can put a financial strain on both students and their parents. If you prefer your own company (or don’t like the people you are living with) life could become difficult, therefore halls aren’t always for everyone.
However, halls do provide a friendly, multicultural atmosphere, and are the perfect place to live if you’re an outgoing person looking to make new friends and have a good time whilst studying.
Renting A Flat
Renting your own flat is a great way to start off your independent, adult life. Living in a flat right now, I can say from my own experience that it gives you such a sense of freedom. Being responsible for your own shopping, cooking and cleaning, although at times annoying, sets you up for the real world and forces you to grow up a lot. One of the best perks of living in a flat is getting to choose who you live with (NOT PARENTS) and living with your best friend can be a lot of fun.
The downside to renting a flat is, of course, rent and bills. Money which would usually be spent on clothes or going out now has to be put towards rent, which is quite a shock to the system at first, but totally worth it. Being students also means we get help from SAAS and don’t pay tax (yay!).
If you’re really nice to your parents you might be lucky enough to have them buy a flat for you (although they may ask for some rent). This comes with all of the same benefits as renting a flat and you might even get discounted rent for knowing the landlords. As your parents won’t be looking to make a profit from you and your flatmates (unless they’re really mean) this means that the cost of rent will be much lower than that of a letting agency. Basically, you get to live away from home and get all the perks that come with it, just for much cheaper.
The downside to living in a flat bought by your parents is that you could feel that you are still dependant on them and have less freedom than you would have renting off any other landlord or agency. Also, they own the place, meaning they are allowed to check up on it at anytime…