Having lived in Norwich for almost a year and a half now, it is understandable that I might start to feel as though I have sampled everything the city has to offer which might be of interest to me. However, I am pleased to say that whenever I feel this way I almost invariably stumble across something new.
My most recent discovery is the Vintage Market. Tucked away as it is, with only a small door around the side of the large Iceland supermarket, I have been walking past it almost every day since I moved into my house last September and barely given it a thought.
Recently however, I was persuaded by a housemate that despite its unpromising frontage it was worth taking a peek inside.
And they were more than right.
Whilst I am not currently in the market for new clothes, the Vintage Market has everything you could hope for. From casual jackets to formal dresses to this… thing…
Whilst I haven’t tried it myself, I have also been informed that the attached café is wonderful so I shall make a point of trying that out at some point.
That’s about all for this week – it’s hard to find time to explore this wonderful city when you’re also reading a Shakespeare play, an Austen novel, and a large collection of Romantic poetry weekly. But as and when I find new delights I shall of course share them on here.
Now is the time of year when students across the country are scrabbling to secure their housing for next year. Some of them may be first years on the lookout for their first ever house, and some of them are second or third years who for whatever reason aren’t staying in their current accommodation.
Luckily for me, I’m staying right where I am. I lucked out both in terms of housing and housemates so aside from one change in the team line up, due to one of my housemates graduating this summer, we’re staying as we are.
However, one of my housemates and I were discussing just how unusual this is, to be happy with both your choice of housemates and your choice of accommodation one year on from that original contract signing.
I don’t pretend to have any particular wisdom on the subject, good fortune more than anything led to a situation where by the November of my first term at uni I had found who I was going to live with in second year (One of my housemates is the first person I met at the ice breaker on my first night at uni).
But I think there are a few pointers that I can give to help ease the house hunting horror.
- Firstly, and this will seem like a very obvious one, work out what you can afford. You need to include not only the monthly rent but also the cost of bills if they are not included, the cost of transport if you are going to be travelling in every day, plus the basic costs of living such as food.
- Decide how far you are happy to live from uni. I live right in the centre of the city and I love it. I’m very near the shops and clubs, and only a five minute walk from the main bus stop so I don’t have to worry about whether the next bus is a 25 or 26 (this is a problem all UEA students above second year will understand). Personally I think it’s best to either live very close to uni or to move right into town. A lot of student housing falls somewhere in between, leaving you too far away to walk to uni and too far away from town to walk home after a night out. Bite the bullet and pick a side.
- When on the phone and looking around properties, remember to put your best foot forward. Nice houses go very quickly and the landlord will have plenty of offers to choose from, so make sure you’re the nice bunch who say things like, ‘we’re not much of a party house’, even if it’s not true…
- Once you’ve found a place, don’t sign anything until a Student Union advisor has gone through the contract with you. This will protect you and the landlord from surprise costs or unreasonable demands. These things are legally binding, so make sure you fully understand what you’re getting in to.
- And lastly, before looking around houses, have a discussion with your future flatmates about your expectations for the next year. Is one of you planning on bringing people round every weekend? Does one of you have a secret passion for the violin they’ve not mentioned before? These aren’t reasons not to live with someone, but they are things you should know about beforehand. It’s also worth checking whether any of you are very keen on having things like a bath or double beds which not all properties have.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to be thorough enough with your planning and house hunting that there no nasty surprises once you move in – or at least none that you can be held responsible for.
Best of luck to everyone looking, and don’t forget that there’s loads more info on the HomeRun website!
Last year’s booklet – How time flies…
Happy New Year! (and a very belated Merry Christmas)
You may have noticed that this blog was particularly quiet recently. This was in part due to a few weeks of very stressful essay writing, but also because shortly after submitting my final essay my laptop suffered a catastrophic encounter with a cup of tea. But thankfully all has been repaired and now I’m back at uni and ready for term two to begin!
It has been pointed out to me that, by some measurements at least, I am now half way through my degree – a truly terrifying thought. Luckily for me I do have some idea of what I want to do once my BA is finished so it’s a bit less like staring into oblivion.
However, if I really want to get onto an MA, as I hope to do, I need to knuckle down and get more work done this term. Last semester was difficult for a number of reasons, but I think it wasn’t helped by the fact that I was putting in less hours than last year but being set more work. This is probably the result of living with friends; watching a film with your flatmates is far more appealing than doing extra reading unfortunately.
I’ve been back in Norwich for a few days now and the newness of being away from home is already fading. I’ve just about remembered how the cooker and washing machine work, although my use of these utilities is still a little sporadic.
Having had the time to settle back in, I’m now a lot more excited about getting started with this term’s work. This semester I’m taking Romanticism, Austen and the Brontës, and Shakespeare. My first week’s reading is fairly gentle; Jane Eyre, Henry V, Pride and Prejudice, are all texts I have read before so the only new piece of reading is William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience.
Some of my reading…
This first week of term is always the calm before the storm, but I promise I’ll do a better job than I have recently of keeping you up to date with student life in Norwich.
As always, if anybody has any questions about UEA, feel free to email me.