Finding your first year uni accommodation can be easy. They usually give you a list of ‘halls’ and their prices and you pick one. However, as I have discovered, it’s not foolproof. Starting uni is an exciting time full of changes. Changes can be stressful. Particularly if you’re leaving things until mid-end of the summer. I realise that I’m writing the article a little late in terms of when you start uni, but hey, maybe it can help inform you and future applicants anyway.
I discovered the accommodation form was not fool proof when I saved the application instead of sending it. I got a call two weeks after the deadline explaining that I had no where to live and that I would be placed on a waiting list and I must look for alternative housing. I cried. I actually cried for a little bit. In my bedroom. Alone. During freshers, it was an embarrassing story I had to tell potential new friends when I told them that I couldn’t stay ’till the end of the party because I had to walk through a dark alley. That’s right. I had picked the worst place possible for a first year uni student to live. I feel like I have trouble making new friends as it is but this set up ensured that I couldn’t make friends for quite a while.
So where was I? Well, my dad brought me to Falmouth to look at a few of the houses that had replied to my call. Just getting through to the landlords I found hard enough. Out of about ten places available, only two actually answered my call so we drove for about three hours to go and view two houses. The first still had tenants living there and they were dirty and messy. The whole house had an odd smell and the landlady looked like she hadn’t seen a shower in years. To be polite, I let her show me around anyway (my dad refused to go in). So option one was no longer an option. Which meant I was stuck with the second option. This place was technically a converted bungalow with a family already resident. It had a gorgeous view of the river Fal and a posh decking out back. However, getting the car up the mountainous drive did prove to be a hard task for my dad and anyone that came to visit in future. We met the landlady and she seemed to be very lovely and hospitable. She got on with my dad instantly. I felt awkward about their meeting (my dad only seemed interested in buying her parrot, of which he has two already, instead of actually checking the place over). So I had to do my best to check the place over. i failed miserably. My dad instantly said yes to her and paid the £50 deposit up front. She wanted more of the deposit when I came to move in. I felt a bit angry at my dad because he hadn’t let me talk the whole time and I felt like I had no choice. I really didn’t have a choice. She’d first showed me a small flat she owned above her hairdressers but it was tiny and there was going to be a French man living there that I hadn’t gotten to meet.
Anyway, this place was not as sweet a deal as I had hoped. I didn’t get a key until about a week or so after I’d moved in. I had to ‘sneak’ out of the back, getting my shoes all muddy every time because she hadn’t showed me that her fence was actually a gate. As for the internet she had advertised, she didn’t get that until about a month or so in. I had to try and rely on crappy credit for getting hold of the outside world. I lived about a 20 minute walk from the campus, which included a walk through an industrial estate, an alley and going over a bridge. I enjoyed the walk but when you’re afraid of the dark, what can you do? The estate was poorly lit and the alley had no lighting at all. Not cool. As for shopping. I was clueless as to how much I should buy and how often. Since Asda was around a half an hour walk, including various inclines, I decided I wanted to do that as little as possible which involved me lugging many bulging bags and torn up hands. I didn’t think about this.
The landlady, Jenna, had talked to my dad about showing me around and helping me to find a job. She got her 12 year old daughter to show me to Asda. I had to clumsily find my own way to the campus and to public transport. This Bungalow, and the campus was in a village called Penryn. The town of Falmouth was a good 45 minute walk away so transportation was key. I had come to realise that she was very unhelpful. She had three loud children, but she was much worse. Every morning I’d awaken to the sound of her screaming at her kids to get ready. Her voice went straight through me. I stayed hopeful when she had told me that I was able to have my boyfriend George to come and visit. Of course, after the first few weeks of me living there, she changed her mind. He wasn’t allowed to stay. He came round and let her, producing me a a bouquet of flowers. It was lovely. Jenna however, after he left, decided she did not like him. She complained about us ‘making noises above her living room’ which was completely in appropriate as we were watching Rise of the Guardians in my room and she decided she didn’t want him in her house again. The kids pined over our dominoes so we left them a slice each. She through it all in the bin. She’d made it clear she was not my friend and for £400 every four weeks, which worked out more than £400 a month, it was not a good deal at all.
When my mum came to visit for the day, she was able to see right through Jenna. She made my sister feel uncomfortable by glaring at her. I last three months in that hell hole with this sexist woman who had deprived me, really, of any company. I had to stay at a friends house for the weekend whenever George came to visit and we’d set up an air bed on their front room floor. So this is my advice: Push send, not save and save yourself a whole lot of butthurt. I could go on for days talking about Jenna and how she’d had a go at me on more than one occasion, how she threatened to kick me out for inviting George in to use the toilet after his drive, how she helped herself to my food, how her kids came into my room and how they started kicking footballs against the shower window, scaring me. The list went on but I need to try and keep it short. So, go for halls. If you’re going to go private make sure you’re getting the right quality for your quantity. Remember keys, internet, shopping, privacy, space, transport- things like that and I wish you the best of luck guys!
See you soon x
Side note: Jenna is a false name.