We here at The Siren have been looking for a Fresher to share their experiences for quite some time… and now that time has come! Give a warm welcome to Evey Moriarty, who’s studying Ancient History and English here at Swansea. She’ll be sharing her experiences as a Fresher on a fortnightly basis; this week, it’s all about housing and how the excitement of the first term is beginning to wear off…
I’m beginning to suffer from a condition that most of you have probably experienced at some point, one which I henceforth name Halls Fatigue. Living in our flat of twenty no longer seems like the glorious lark I believed it to be earlier in the term – part Mallory Towers fuelled boarding-school fantasy wish fulfilment and part parent-free twenty four hour party. Instead, I find myself asking my flatmates to turn down their music at ridiculously early times and dreaming wistfully of a clean kitchen. My flatmate (and future housemate) Rosie and I have genuinely had multiple conversations about how much we’re looking forward to having a spice rack. The worst is clearly happening: living here is hastening my decline into early middle-age.
And that’s not all. Nearly every fresher I’ve spoken to recently has had some kind of drama to discuss, all with the same source: finding a house. It’s genuinely more stressful than I ever expected – popping your details on the white form and cruising StudentPad for a house with the right facilities and number of bedrooms, only to be told the houses you picked have already been snapped up by someone else. The details of the private lets are being released on Monday, and I plan to get up at the crack of dawn, despite the fact that they probably won’t even be online until midday. It’s the principle of the thing, really.
This is all assuming you’re past possibly the worst stage in first-year house hunting: navigating the social minefield of deciding on your housemates. I remember thinking last term that we were the perfect flat, and finding it hard to imagine a situation in which we wouldn’t all be like one huge, drunken, lovely family. This was, of course, before it dawned on everybody that no house in Swansea was going to accommodate all, or even half, of us together comfortably. Nobody actually fell out, and I’m definitely not saying I don’t still love my flatmates, because I do still feel really lucky that by chance I ended up on a floor with such funny, interesting people, but the tension in the flat when we were first organising our groupings was palpable, and I’d be lying if I said there weren’t a few days when the atmosphere was downright uncomfortable. Such was the state of affairs in other flats, I understand from my classmates.
Of course, it was inevitable that the flat would end up being slightly more cliquey after we’d decided on our future housemates, but there are some positive outcomes – I feel much closer to those that I’m going to live with next year than I did before. So, although we don’t all see each other quite as much as we did, we’ve all developed much better friendships with a few people, and the worst is presumably over.
House hunting is stressful, yes, but then again, I think part of what makes it so difficult is the fact that it’s so unfamiliar, and the fact that it does feel much too grown-up for a group of teenagers to be signing contracts and renting a house on our own. That’s sort of exciting, though, really, a rite of passage – our first house. And I imagine that once the weeks of frugality (necessitated by having to have enough money on hand to put down a deposit) are over, the Halls Fatigue may lessen slightly. And if not that, then St. David’s is just around the corner – the perfect excuse to temporarily forget about any worries (amongst other things) that we may be hanging on to. Great.