What’s it like living in a shared house?
One of the most exciting parts about going into my second year of university was moving out of my student halls on campus and into a shared house off campus! Moving into a shared house with your friends is a great chance to have more independence, away from the bubble of campus, as well as bringing you and your friends closer together! Most students will move to Coventry, Leamington Spa, Kenilworth or Canley.
So, if living in a shared house sounds like the type of thing you’d like to do (the alternative is perhaps an apartment), then there are some considerations to keep in mind within the next few months:
- First, and most importantly, think about WHO you would like to live with. This could be coursemates, your current flatmates or perhaps friends you have met elsewhere, such as from societies or extended friendship groups! Importantly, you will be around these people probably more frequently than in halls, and as you will no longer have a cleaner/bills paid for you, think about living with people who seem willing to work together and are considerate.
- Consider where you’d all like to live, and start house searching as soon as possible!
- Sign your contract and … relax!
So, you’ve secured a shared house, what now?
Well, there will be aspects to consider prior to moving into the house.
- The bedrooms are not likely to be equal in size : This means that you might not all be able to get a double bed, for example. In my 6-bed house, 4 rooms had double beds and 2 had singles. We managed to work this out as fairly as possible, with one of my friends opting for the single. We also ensured that, if we lived together another year, the people who had single beds would get first choice on rooms. If in doubt, draw straws! I know some friends that did this, and it worked out fine.
- Arrange move-in dates! : It’s important to check when your contract starts, but some of you might want to move in sooner than others. This is fine, as one of our housemates just picked up the key, and others came within the next few weeks when it suited them.
So, away from the technicalities – what do I love about living in a shared house?
- The sense of community/closeness in the house: I found that in first year, sometimes halls would feel quite lonely. I did not have a common room, so we would have to socialise in the kitchen, which meant that a lot of the time was just spent in our individual rooms, as there wasn’t really sufficient space for us to all get together. Living in a shared house with a sofa and a TV (obviously, check which houses offer what – not all provide a TV, I know friends who brought their own!) means that we all spend much more time together. We have a space to chill out, which is really nice! There really is something quite comforting about coming off the bus from a long day on campus, and collapsing on the sofa alongside your pals!
- We have a garden: Every shared house’s garden will differ in size and appearance, but you can make the best of it! We really enjoyed having a garden when the weather got warmer, and it’s ideal for having drinks outside, or a space to workout, if that’s what you want to do! This was a nice change from on campus halls, where all outdoor space was very public and open.
- If it suits you, you can bring a car: A friend of mine has brought her car this year as we are fortunate to have a driveway, and I must admit, it comes in handy when going food shopping, or just general days out! This obviously isn’t an option, living on campus, so the added freedom that this gives you is ideal!
- You all muddle through the adult-part of living in a house together: Sorting out bills, Council Tax Exemptions, when to put which bins out – the whole lot! It makes it a lot easier dealing with it together, as opposed to if you were living alone.
- It can help reduce feelings of homesickness: Living in a house, as opposed to a student flat, has made me feel more at-home at university. Combined factors from above such as having a sofa and a garden really adds a ‘homely’ feel that I was lacking in first year. Being surrounded by my friends more has also helped reduce any feelings of loneliness and isolation that people may experience whilst living in halls.
I hope you have found this blog useful, and if you have any further questions about living in a shared house, feel free to get in touch!