I wish I could write a one-size-fits-all guide to student accommodation, painting a picture of what it’s really like to be a fresher. Truthfully, the only thing I am certain of is that we are all experiencing a huge change from home life; the excitement and nerves of moving into a whole new world.
The first challenge upon arriving in the nest-like hub of flats is cooking your first meal. In my flat alone there are a few different approaches to this. Some of us cook meals from scratch, using ingredients as cheap and fresh as Tesco value offers, guided by student cookery books. One of my flatmates can’t cook and has eaten a ready meal every day for the last few weeks, something I was certain wasn’t healthy but I won’t criticise his… efficiency.
However, cooking the meal is the easy bit – it’s the washing up that gets a bit more complicated. Complicated? Well, it’s quite simple – most of the time it doesn’t happen. I’m sure there’s a plate in the sink that’s been there since fresher’s week. Eventually, necessity calls and some cutlery will be washed up and left in the drying rack for a few more days, just to make sure it’s really aired.
I think the most essential parts of fresher’s week are flat parties- lots of small talk, meeting neighbours and ultimately having a good time. If you’re not attending a flat party on a Friday or Saturday night, chances are you can hear at least one from your room. The results of these flat parties, lots of empty bottles, are often displayed in the windows of kitchens, proudly exhibiting the quantity of vodka consumed like a trophy cabinet.
One of the highlights of fresher’s week was the societies fair. In between gaining a bag full of leaflets and freebies for clubs that I have no interest in, I managed to join the mailing list for dozens of societies and organisations- from cocktail soc to stitch soc (I think they should be called sock soc). I ended up going to about 10% of these but there’s always next year, and the year after that.
Despite the identical design of the student blocks, scattered like Lego blocks in the areas that make up Endcliffe, Ranmoor, and city, no two experiences of student living are the same. You could have four flatmates, or eleven. You could be catered for, or get by on instant noodles every night. You might spend most nights in your kitchen, or at the Edge bar, or at the SU. There’s so much variety that student accommodation really is what you make of it.
Life as a student begins with a bang, kicking off what is arguably the most exciting part of our lives. I can’t wait.