On realising I didn’t have anywhere to live in my final year during my year abroad, I decided I needed to find a solution quick.
I was in the middle of Argentina with a wavering internet connection and no chance of making any phone calls to landlords in York, let alone go along to house viewings. That’s not to mention the fact that I didn’t have anyone to live with. So I thought about University accommodation – I already knew what it was like after having lived there in first year, the application was super easy and simple, and having the University held to account for anything that might go wrong certainly felt more secure than having a landlord that I didn’t know.
For a while before moving in, I was apprehensive about going back onto campus. I knew that it was something that people do but… who? What if my flat is empty? Or if it’s full of people I can’t get along with? I remembered that I would have the same questions about my prospective housemates even if I had found them myself through some kind of house sharing website, and found solace in the fact that the University would probably help me out if I found myself with dreadfully uncooperative flatmates.
I moved in a little earlier than everybody else and the first few weeks of being back on campus were certainly odd. The corridors of Vanbrugh seemed eerily quiet and my kitchen felt like the saddest place on earth. For a minute I regretted the move, especially when I visited my friend’s house and found her giggling with five of our course-mates. When term started however, everything changed.
It was weird meeting everyone for the first time, especially getting to grips with the variety of nationalities – Hungarian, Ethiopian, French, Cypriot… and a couple of Brits. But being so close to the Freshers’ events meant that we had a good place to bond. Our first few nights together were spent at a club night in the dining hall, a board games night, a cheese and wine evening and of course Vanbrugh jazz. None of us were freshers but we couldn’t pass up the chance for free food.
After those first few nights, the group that the University had thrown together soon became some of my closest friends. We spend our time introducing the international portion of the flat to British classics such as the Great British Bake Off and having intense foosball tournaments in the common room. Having two visiting students hanging around with pretty empty timetables means there’s quite often baked goods to be enjoyed in the kitchen too. Occasionally, the flatmates even come in handy… living with a girl from the Alps makes trying to keep hold of the French I was once able to speak that little bit easier.
It’s true that living on campus isn’t everything. I mean, who doesn’t want to experience the sheer joy of living in a freezing house because your housemates don’t want to pay for heating? And of course having to clean the bathroom is something I sorely miss from my second year days. The worst thing is being able to wake up, get showered, eat breakfast and walk to classes in the time it used to take me to get from Tang Hall to campus. And I just hate being able to pop home in between classes for a sneaky nap.
I jest. Of course there are great reasons to live off campus. But if you’re looking for a way to have a few less things to worry about in your busy student life, then I would highly recommend heading back into your college. I did it, and I don’t regret it one bit.