House share and halls
Firstly, a very happy new year to you all. Here’s to a prosperous 2016 for everyone. And now, onto business…
It’s both nerve-wracking and exciting to leave the nest and fend for yourself for the first time in your life. You might argue that it is the first step into adulthood. You want to put your best step forward so it is important to consider what kind of accommodation you want to live in. If you choose to move out of your parents’ house like I did, your accommodation is going to be a huge part of your student experience. As someone who has lived in both student halls and a house share, let me share some information about both cases to help you decide the right option for you.
The University of Manchester guarantees every first year student a space in student halls so let’s begin here. There are two kinds of student halls: catered and self-catered. I decided to live in catered halls, as I’m lazy and have the cooking skills of a fruit fly! For a year, I was very pleased to receive a cooked breakfast and dinner. However, if you prefer to have your own kitchen where you can cook your preferred meals then self-catered is the best option for you. Regardless of whether you choose catered or self-catered, halls are a great place to make friends outside of your degree course. In fact, I met my best friend there.
In your second and third years, you can opt to live in halls again but you’ll have to apply early to receive a spot. Alternatively, you could decide to live in a house share with some friends, which is what I did. I had my reservations about having to look after an entire house but I felt that it might also be more comfortable to share a living space with friends. I’m glad I did. Living away from home pushed me to become more independent and responsible. I even gave cooking a try (with abysmal results, I may add!) After student halls, you don’t have to go very far to find a house. There are several rental properties available near halls, so there isn’t a big readjustment period between first and second year. You end up traveling the same distance to lectures and you can still stay within the student scene.
I can’t say I prefer one over the other; it all boils down to what you want to take away from your student experience. But I would recommend trying the best of both worlds. That way you don’t miss out on anything and you get a taste for what really suits you.