As some of you may know, I'm currently studying Photography (or BA (Hons) Photographic Arts) at University. I'm just going into my third year - hello Dissertation! - and the aftermath of the big bad and exciting world is beckoning...
For my first year, I lived in the University Halls which honestly I'd recommend to anyone first going to Uni. You meet all your friends and you have so much fun and I know I wouldn't have had such a great time if I wasn't there. Plus, the student bar is just around the corner... For my second year I've been living in a house with 5 others and we are so so lucky with the place we found. It's big and spacious and only a short bus ride from Uni. We love it so much that we're staying on for our third year. Halls and living with people is very different. There's almost a 'bubble' around your time in halls... I mean there was a cleaner to clean the kitchen and drinking and having fun was our main priority. But when it comes to a house, there's more to think about and so I thought I'd share a few of my tips for when it comes to living with a bunch of people in a rented house. Of course, this is only what I have found to be right. Maybe you will find communal food works for you, but for me, this is what I'd say...
If I'm honest, this is my main pet peeve. I don't always get why it's the hardest thing to clean up after yourself but such is life and that doesn't always happen. It was a struggle in our first year of the house, but now we've set up a cleaning rota. Nothing too complicated, we're in pairs and each pair does a big clean each week. It seems to be working... For now. Tips for this to come soon!
Internet is super important, I mean where would we all be without it nowadays? Make sure you get a good deal as it's something you'll miss if you don't get the right one.
We had it quite lucky for this one with the previous tenants of the house leaving us a Friends and Family discount deal for our Internet and TV. But there's one thing I've noticed is that all contracts are usually 12 months long and of course, most student house contracts last for only 9 months like the Uni Term. We have ours for 12 months, which is why I'm still in lovely London this summer and am so thankful for that but I fully understand that this is different for the majority of contracts over the rest of the country.
BT* have an amazing 9 month broadband deal, perfect for students with tenancy's like this! They have 3 options to choose from at great prices already and not only that but you'll be saving yourself the extra cost of the 3 months on 12 month contracts.
If it's Broadband your after then BT have a deal that'll save you £96 instead of the standard price for unlimited broadband and weekend calls. It's a 9 month contract for £16 a month and £15.99 a month for line rental. For BT Infinity, there are two options, the first which saves £138 and you'll get BT Infinity's 1 Extra broadband with a 40GB download limit and unlimited weekend calls for £14 a month and £15.99 a month for line rental. Or you could save £222 with BT Unlimited Infinity 1 broadband with unlimited weekend calls for £19 a month plus £15.99 for line rental. Not bad, right?
Now you don't get TV with these deals, but there's always Freeview, like I have in my room anyway, which is just as good. Or if you can manage without like I did in my first year, iPlayer and 4oD will be a god send! And if your internet's that good, well then why would you need a TV?! You also get free BT Sport online as well as Unlimited access to BT Wi-Fi and the BT SmartTalk app, no complaints there.
Whether you have a 9 month contract or not, like I said, all I can say is make sure you get a good internet provider as it really is so important.
Communal Space/Time for Yourself
When looking for a house, make sure there is some sort of communal area within it. You won't want to hang out in a tiny kitchen with no where to sit down and so one of your rooms will end up the place to hang out, meaning it'll be harder for you to get some time to yourself. You might not always want to be around everyone, and I can totally relate to that. I love having fun with everyone but I find me-time really important and your room is the space that you'll get that! Make sure you do give yourself that time and make your room the kind of place you'd want that time. A clean and tidy space gives a clean and tidy mind, or something like that right?
Another tough one, and we probably don't do it the easiest way but it's how we do it. I deal with the internet, another deals with the rent and so on... and we just transfer the money as and when we need to. Things like Electric, Gas and Water can be in part payments online and so we all sort that out individually. We did talk about getting a group bank account but we trust each other to be able to pay and not splurge their student loan and still be able to afford the rent. Maybe it's something to think about if your not so sure?
Buy your own food, have your own pans, plates etc. Obviously this isn't easy if you have a tiny kitchen etc. but with 6 of us in our house it's the only way. You don't want to have bought yourself that treat of a packet of biscuits to then find them all gone when you go to have one... It's easier and then you're not chasing after people to constantly do the washing up so you can have something to eat your dinner with. Plus, no one has time to have dinner all together. It's very rare we're all in the house at dinner time.
Be Considerate and Share With People Like You
I feel like this is quite obvious but definitely worth saying. Choose the right kind of people to live with. If you don't like going out and staying up drinking then find like-minded people, if you do enjoy partying then the same goes for that... You'll find you won't be as annoyed with many of their habits, you won't be listening to the loud music from the confines of your room, you'll be out there with them or vice versa. Make sure you check with everyone before you have someone over, it's not like they can stop you, it's just nice to ask.
I think that's probably it when it comes to communal living. Everything else you'll come across by yourself but most importantly, have fun and enjoy living away from home and with your friends. You'll have some great memories in your house!
What tips would you give for students in a house?
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