In four years at Manchester, I’ve had as many places that I called home for a time. Each one had it’s pros and cons, but ultimately I enjoyed living in all of them. I think it definitely helped that I’ve always lived with at least 2 of my 3 best friends, as anywhere can feel like home when you’re coming back to your favourite people and a cup of tea.
My first year was the normal university experience, halls. Although, I think I got quite lucky when I was allocated Denmark Road. I’ve heard (and seen) some horror stories about various university accommodation but my halls were amazing. A double bed, en-suite and a TV in the spacious living room; to me it was perfect. Some people didn’t enjoy the lack of “party atmosphere” in Denmark Road but I personally enjoyed the ability to get a good night’s sleep at anytime of the week. Apart from the lack of a lie in on a Sunday morning when a very loud group of live action role-players would act out the Battle of Whitworth Park. It was also very expensive, and it cost all of my student loan to be able to stay there. But thankfully I managed to keep up a job alongside my studies so I used my wages for my living expenses. Overall, I loved my first year home because it was the first place that really felt like my own and it was where I met the people I would end up living with for the next few years.
I started worrying about my accommodation for second year quite early, but my friends and I still ended up panic signing a contract on a place that was far too expensive just because it looked pretty similar to our halls. Each of the houses we had viewed had led to arguments about who would get the biggest/nicest room so we settled for a pricey flat that had pretty equal room sizes. Learn from my mistakes and make sure you don’t assume that halls prices are what you’ll be paying for a privately rented home. You can definitely get a good place for under £100 a week. Don’t let a landlord pressure you into signing something you’re not sure on! The positive side of this flat was that it was right behind Uni which meant I could get to my lectures even if I woke up ten minutes before…
In my third year, I had initially thought I wouldn’t be living with my friends anymore. They had originally planned to go abroad for their placement years but it ended up that the four of us stayed in Manchester together. As much as this was lovely, it meant we had to find somewhere to live in April when most of the good stuff was already gone. By some divine intervention, we ended up finding the perfect house. It had four massive rooms, nice bathrooms and plenty of parking space; all for £90 a week! It was also located just off Withington high street which was such a lovely place to live. The one thing that made this house easier to leave was the nightmare landlord. Make sure you take pictures of everything in the house as soon as you move in, so if your landlords accuse you of damaging the property and try and take money from your deposit you can dispute it with evidence.
Now I’m in my fourth year at Manchester and I’ve wound up living in the student-hub of Fallowfield for the first time. Despite the Wednesday night house parties and the still overly expensive rent, I’m really enjoying my last student house. I can’t say that I’ll miss student accommodation entirely, but it’s definitely been an experience to remember!
Click here for some more support if you are in need of some help with your accommodation.