A ‘Fresher’ Perspective: The Great House Hunt
On a list of the most stressful yet rewarding life events, you would expect to find marriage and having a baby. They take effort and commitment, but in the end you have something special to treasure forevermore. I, however, would like to add another event to this list; an event that I believe trumps everything else ever. The event I am talking about is…finding a student house.
Now, I know what stress is. I am as natural a stress-head as I am a brunette. I am one of those people who can make a drama out of everyday things. “Oh my god, we’ve got no milk? THE WORLD IS GOING TO END!” is a pretty frequent exclamation that my Dad is starting to tire of. But running round Durham screaming “I DON’T WANT TO BE HOMELESS” on an almost daily basis was a genuine cause for emotional distress. All of the conflicting advice regarding housing did not help. One day I’d hear “Do not sign for a house before Christmas,” and the next it was “Why haven’t you got a house yet? You’ll have to be quick!” Confusion ensued.
The thing that took us ages to decide was ‘who will live with who’. We had a big group of friends to consider, and there were so many people that I could see myself living with. We tried to split into groups diplomatically but that ultimately failed. We’d all just sit there talking about how much we needed to just say who we wanted to live with but never actually come to a conclusion. It was like pulling teeth. It was like trying to get blood out of a stone. It was like trying to write a blog post without using a single cliché. In the end, we just had to split up (and look for clues? Scooby Doo controlled my childhood) and get on with it. If there are any Freshers reading this, the only thing I can say is that even if you don’t end up living with every single person that you wanted to, it doesn’t mean that you will never see them again! I’m living with 4 other amazingly crazy people, and my equally loony friends aren’t too far away. We are planning on having Come Dine With Me sessions. Student dinner parties…surely just beans and alcohol? No shame in conforming to the stereotype.
So, you have the people that are stupid enough to want to live with you for a year. Now you just need a house. If only it were that simple: ringing landlords, arranging viewings, asking for contracts, running backwards and forwards from the DSU to collect checked contracts…the list goes on. The thing is, I really enjoyed going to house viewings. I am a very nosey person, so seeing how other people live just interested me. And we definitely saw some sights; the images will remain burnt onto my retinas forever. But you can’t just spend weeks being shown slight varieties of bathrooms. I tried to explain this to my Dad; it’s not rushing, it’s just acting quickly. The amount of times we were on the verge of securing a house and then somebody else got there marginally before us was gut-wrenching. And don’t get me started on landlords who subjectively pick the people they want (naming no names here). I had almost given up hope. But we continued trawling though websites and found two nice houses to view. On the day, the first house just wowed us. It was absolutely lovely, the best we had seen; big rooms, a to-die-for kitchen and only 10 minutes from where we are living now. We decided straight away to act fast and get that house…and we did! The relief is immense. Both one of the lovely girls I’m living with and I were worried because we had got no work done during the entire house hunting season. The downside of securing the house is now I have no reason to avoid work…procrastination will have to resume the form of watching endless episodes of Whose Line Is It Anyway. I’m not complaining.
I suppose my advice on this matter (oh wow; I’ve become an agony aunt) would be to just remain calm. Do not spend the twilight hours bookmarking houses on the web instead of getting adequate sleep for that 9 a.m. tutorial. There is no need to panic as much as I did. There are plenty of houses out there, although WE’VE GOT THE BEST ONE HAHAHA! (Sorry, childish moment over!) Finding a house should be exciting, as I’m sure that, like me, many of you will see it as the first step in becoming a ‘proper’ adult. Just be organised and I’m sure your blood pressure level will remain normal, unlike mine.