What I like and dislike about living off campus
The vast majority of students will have to live off campus at some point in their university life, as on-campus accommodation is guaranteed in first year.
This year I am living in Canley, about a 15 minute walk from central campus. There are pros and cons to both this location and living off-campus in general, and I will discuss some of them here. The cons aren’t to dissuade you from living off-campus (most of us don’t have a choice aha), but they can give you an idea of the things to prepare for.
– My house has its own laundry machines and I don’t have to pay the (in my opinion) extortionate costs of using on-campus laundry facilities.
– I can finally shower without great fear of the fire alarm going off at any moment. I remember the fire alarm going off last year at 2am and it took ages before we were allowed back into the building. This was the day I had to get up at 7am to go to London for a concert. As you can imagine, I was very sleep deprived.
– It’s nice having a more private space for me and my friends. It’s infinitely more peaceful not having stranger’s voices echoing down the hallways and through walls.
– Having a longer walk to go home actually encourages me to spend more time on campus, instead of coming back home during the day. Since I struggle to work in my room, it means that I get more work done as I spend more time in the library.
– I have a double bed. Need I say more.
– You have to make a longer commute onto campus. For some this means catching a bus (with all the associated risks of the bus being late, you missing it, having to wake up early, not being able to go home easily for a quick lunch, etc.). For me my commute is just a longer walk than I had last year, which is fine by me, but it isn’t fun when the weather is bad. I’ve started bringing a change of shoes and socks on days that I have dancing because exercising in clothes soaked in mud and cold water is not the one 🙁
– If you’re privately renting, you risk encountering shady landlords and hidden costs. I am fortunate in that I rent through Warwick Accommodation’s off campus service, but if you rent privately, you need to be extra careful, and be sure to read any contracts very carefully before signing anything.
– Paying bills. Most properties are not all-inclusive of fees such as water, gas and electric and sometimes even internet, so it’s up to you to organise and pay these yourself. It’s a bit of a hassle, and we ended up switching providers in order to find a better rate. Still, it’s like a little piece of my soul is being chiselled away each time I have to transfer the money to my bill-paying housemate.
– You don’t have the comfort of knowing that the building you are living in is secure. With living in houses comes the risk of burglary, regardless of the precautions you take. Admittedly I felt a lot safer living on campus last year, especially with campus security nearby. It’s like you suddenly enter the scary real world when you leave campus, but it’s just another step on the way to becoming a fully-functioning adult who has to exist in the real world.