So here is something relatively light, but topical, I feel, to a great many students at this time of year.
When buying a house! What I think it's important to consider, from my first year's experience of choosing somewhere to live, and not doing it very well:
- Decide if you prefer bills included - so you don't have to feel guilty switching on a light or cooking your dinner, and don't feel a tiny urge to ask guests to pay for having showers - or bills not included, which is slightly more stressful, but will usually be substantially cheaper in the long run.
- Tumble-drier/airing cupboard - or ANYWHERE to dry clothes, so that there are not constant loads of washing heaped on every radiator and airer available, and you still end up lugging loads of laundry up to your boyfriend's house in an attempt to commandeer his house's tumble-drier
- Kitchen table - I have no idea how we didn't notice this one when we looked round houses last year, but we didn't. Lesson learned. Kitchen table necessary.
- Shower which runs off gas, not electricity. Especially if bills are not included, or this one gets pricey.
- A thermostat away from all other electrical devices. Apparently, this is a thing.
- Not too much greenery in the back garden - there will be no light in your house, and I mean ever, and it will be freezing cold in July.
- Selflessness. Yes, you know what you want from a room, of course you want the most convenient storage space, ooh look, that one has the double bed. But it's important to remember that you're about to sign away (at least) a year of your life to living with others, and it wouldn't be the best idea to open hostilities this early. Keep in mind that you can make your room individual without the help of acres of space, and that if you have a tiny room, or the worst shelf, or an infestation of wolves, you can use this to take advantage of your housemates later on.
- Cleaning rota. This year I've learnt it's important to be honest early on. Where you are on the scale of how clean you want to keep the house, or if noise is going to bother you after (or before) a certain time, how often you're going to have friends round. It helps if everyone's on the same page.
I've genuinely loved moments of living in my first ever 'house' house away from Home, and most of those were due to some particularly delicious house-mates. I have learnt a great deal though, and I'm thankful to have the opportunity of practising how to live in a house with people for a year, before having to go out into the world and living somewhere super long-term.
Good luck to all embarking on New House expeditions.