I would imagine that the first impression that the words ‘student accommodation’ creates are decidedly negative, that university living is bound to provide images of hard mattresses and mouldy showers. But in 2015, the government is funding universities to help change this stigma, and to provide cleaner, more comfortable and more effective accommodation – meaning moving to university is not akin to living in squalor. But is this really a necessary movement? Isn’t student living kind of supposed to be about adapting to living in a less than affluent set of rooms? Surely there is something positive in leaving the luxuries at home and making the best of what you got?
Student living – a culture shock
Moving to university is a definite culture shock – it can, in no way, be compared to the comfort and familiarity of home. But in many ways, this is the charm of leaving your home behind and joining the students for three years of alcohol fueled fun – it’s so different. In the most part, a less than perfect bedroom does nothing to distract from the hedonism and excitement that your terms will bring – but what if your accommodation is really really horrible? Does it really distract from your studies and weekends on the town?
For me, my accommodation was far from perfect – it was old, the windows were permanently wet and mouldy and it never was warm enough, but this did nothing to stop me enjoying my first year there. We didn’t have a communal area, I shared a toilet between six and when boys came up from the lower floors to do a number 2 it wasn’t exactly a perfect haven. Bur despite these little areas of negativity, I loved my first year home – it signified maturity and independence and I have a lot of good memories from inside those shabby walls of house number A.
Over the last five years or so, student accommodation has improved greatly. If you pay a little extra (which I didn’t) you can have your own bathroom, double beds, clean carpets and curtains hung – but I don’t think this luxury is needed. I have been to some student accommodation that are fancier than hotels, rooms that are opulent and decorated – entirely opposing the fact that students are dirty, hung over and rarely know the difference between a T -towel and a luxury silk bed sheet. Most students just want a place to grab three hours sleep before their first exam, somewhere to lay after throwing up due to a heavy night on the town and somewhere cosy to impress their latest lover. With the lights turned down and tequila in your belly, no one notices the ‘beauty’ of luxury accommodation.
University is a culture shock, and the accommodation makes it even harder. I say: embrace it. With squalor comes solidarity and whilst living amongst those damp filled walls you’ll create valuable allies – every single student is in this together, and somehow, you will realise that your dirty little room is really kind of beautiful….