One of the many strange quirks of university life is the need to find somewhere to live almost nine months before you actually want to move in. Why? Who knows, it’s just the way it is.
I mean can you imagine a better system? What problems could having to choose flatmates from a group of people you’ve only known for three months cause?
UEA has its own fun methods of finding housing; they compile a list of all the accommodation available for students next year and release it at nine in the morning on a Friday, cue mad dashes around Norwich attempting to see as many houses as possible whilst still trying to get to class.
My future flatmates and I met up at nine on release day and scrolled through the housing which suited our needs – Six bedrooms, not too far from uni. Not too tall an order you’d think.
But of the five people I am sharing a house with next year only two of us had enough free periods on a Friday to look at houses, and so it was with great apprehension that we began our hunt.
The first two properties we viewed were well priced but small, and a twenty five minute walk away from campus which isn’t ideal, especially at this time of year. The third was right in the centre of town, a five minute walk from Norwich high street and market, and with frequent buses to campus. It was spacious with large rooms and communal living space, the price was good and the lady showing us around very pleasant.
About half way through our tour I started side eyeing my friend to check whether he liked it as much as I did.
The short answer is yes. But we spent almost an hour looking around the place worrying that although we liked it, would the rest of our group? Everyone was in class so we couldn’t phone a friend, we knew other groups were booked in to look around it after us, and we were anxious that if we left it until tomorrow it would be gone…
So it was with great trepidation that we agreed to take the house. As of yet we are still the only two in our group to have seen it, although we are all going to look around again sometime this week, so fingers crossed we haven’t massively missed the mark. But I am still stunned at what a poor idea having the release on a weekday is, it is massively impractical for a lot of students and as there are a limited number of six bed student houses in Norwich, it really racked up the stress levels.
In short, this is exactly how not to go about looking for student housing. Six is a tricky number (four being the most common), having only a third of the group doing the viewings seems like a potential disaster (fingers crossed), and a weekday release makes for stressed and busy students.
But hopefully, we may have just pulled it off…