This blog is detouring from the student job series I was writing, to talk a little bit about what it’s been like to move off campus. I spent my first year in Whitefields, a convenient 30 second – 2 minute walk from most of my lectures, and very central on campus. Moving off campus, while picking a house in first term last year, meant I prioritised proximity to campus once again. I’m living in Canley this year – about a 20/25 minute walk from Campus and 10 minutes from Tesco. Below I’ve talked about some of my favourite/least favourite things about moving off campus.
One of the best changes I found about moving off campus was moving into a house that was smaller than my accommodation, with friends I chose to live with. I really enjoyed campus in my first year, but 12 people was a lot to share a kitchen with (for context, my kitchen now is about the same size, but only shared between 6 of us!) Living with friends from Christian Union this year has been a lovely way to be introduced to off-campus living; we’ve been able to host friends, especially during term-time, take part in CU events like Feed-a-Fresher, and even share cooked breakfasts among not only ourselves but visiting friends. Having visitors has made living away from campus not feel as disconnected as I’d expected! One thing I also found I had missed, from not living in a house, was sofas, as well as the general feel of just living in a house again, which has definitely become a perk this year!
However, one issue I have found is that I’m having to be prepared to get ready a lot earlier, and spend a lot more time on central campus last year (which means looking for study space!). I’ve found myself leaving home at 10am, and getting back over 12 hours later, as it is easier to stay on campus all day than to come back home, only to have to make the same journey back within an hour. A knock on effect is that I have to be prepared and bring lunch (and sometimes tea) with me to campus – if not my weekly budgeting can go out the window as I end up buying food from Rootes or another place on campus! Being prepared to leave 30 minutes before a lecture rather than 5 was also a big step up, but it’s becoming a little more of a standard practice after a short while of doing so!
Yet despite that, off-campus living has been the best it could be for me in Canley. As I mentioned before, I wanted to prioritise being close to campus over living in other places. Seeing the long bus queues for a U1 to Leamington, or waiting with a friend while they waited half an hour for the next bus to Kenilworth, has made me grateful more than once that I can leave campus whenever and not have to wait for something that might be late, or not show up (in rare cases). My friends that live in Leamington and Kenilworth would argue that it is worth the bus journey – however for me, personally, it wasn’t!
Finally, the biggest perk about where I am living this year: the Phantom Coach! Okay, so while it may not be the biggest perk, it’s definitely something my housemates and I have enjoyed having close-by. A popular place for CU members to go, the cheap food and fun that we’d had there last year only made it better living a 2 minute walk away – although shockingly we’re yet to visit it together, after a month of living here now!
Hopefully that’s provided a little bit of an insight as to how I’ve found living off campus so far this year – thank you for reading!