Is the second time away from home as challenging as the first?

Scarlett Welch explains how moving away from home for the second time can pose challenges that weren't faced during first year

Scarlett Welch
2nd November 2020

As university has just begun, the majority of returning students are moving into a student house, many for the first time. 

This can be such an exciting time - you get to live with your friends, you’ve got so much more freedom and you’ve got a whole new house to make your own. But as we settle into our new living arrangements, most will come across a few hiccups along the way. 

First of all, everything becomes much more independent in a house compared to halls. This can be great (no 8am fire drills or monthly room inspections), but it can be overwhelming at times. There's no security for when you lose your key on a night out, no reception to collect your parcels for you and no timers on the oven to stop you burning the house down. As a whole you learn to be much more responsible, but this can definitely feel like a lot of pressure.

With most houses having differing room sizes, there’s a high probability of friction when it comes to who has which room

As soulless as university accommodation can feel, one of its benefits is that it is perfectly designed for the amount of people living there, so everyone gets the same amount of space and identical rooms. This is very rarely the case with houses, which were not designed with students in mind. With most houses having differing room sizes, there’s a high probability of friction when it comes to who has which room - even if you allocate them randomly there's always someone who’s not happy. This is the same with kitchen space; going from all having equal cupboards and fridge shelves to probably a smaller kitchen with less storage space per person can be a challenge to divide fairly.

Living generally becomes more communal in second year, there’s less space, more shared areas and for those who had an en-suite in halls it’s the first time that you share a bathroom with anyone other than your family. As you are generally closer with the people in your house than in first year, this makes sense, yet grievances can easily occur over this. 

It’s safe to say that everyone has a different standard of what counts as ‘clean’

We’re all familiar with the housemate that never cleans the bathroom or unloads the dishwasher, and it’s safe to say that everyone has a different standard of what counts as ‘clean’. There are also a lot more household items that need buying in a student house: toilet roll, dishwasher tablets and cleaning products to name a few. Working out how to divide costs can be difficult, particularly when one person feels as though they are always paying. 

There is a certain comfort that comes with halls of being close to pretty much all of your friends.

Though it’s nice not to be packed in like sardines anymore, there is a certain comfort that comes with halls of being close to pretty much all of your friends. There is usually a much greater distance between you and your other friends when living in a student house, which can be difficult to adjust to.

Don’t let these challenges put you off - living in a student house is more often than not an incredible experience. However, it’s always best to be mindful of your housemates and of issues that may arise.

Feature Image: Pixabay @LUM3N

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