Living away from home for the first time? My friend there is a lot for you to learn! There are bills to pay, companies to chase, agreements to keep to and cleaning to be done! Where to start I hear you ask?
So for the purposes of this article I will assume that you already have your student accommodation lined up, I got mine sorted out through Shields Student Homes in Nottingham. For the first time, you will be living away from Mum and Dad and braving life in the real world all alone!
Excellent I hear you cry, no more chores, no more nagging. I will be free to party till dawn, celebrate my youth and enjoy the freedom that comes with living alone.
Well, sadly, it’s not quite like that! Firstly, you will be studying – bear in mind that at some point you hope to have a degree with which to settle down when you want to do all that boring stuff like getting a job, getting married and eventually having kids. If you don’t put at least a fair amount of effort in now then you may not end up with that degree and will, instead, have 5 years of partying to put on your cv (not quite as attractive perhaps?)
Living along means chores are definitely not out. When your Mum asked you to make your bed and put the odd wash load on she was trying (perhaps in vain) to teach you about running a household and what goes into it. So hovering, mopping, cleaning the bathroom, doing the washing, ironing and cooking are very much in. Even if you split them between all of you in the household it will take some time and if you ignore it you’ll end up in a pigs sty and perhaps in trouble with your letting agents or landlord.
Food shopping is a new and exciting thing all together – you will be drawn to the alcohol aisle, crisps, chocolate and of course ready meals when you first venture into Tesco alone with your small budget that you have allocated for food shopping. This won’t last. Well it can’t really last – your body requires sufficient fuel to help it run and feeding it twixes and kitkats is not going to do the job – if you haven’t done so yet, ask your mum for some last minute cooking tips. It is indeed true that if you can cook yourself a roast chicken then you can survive alone (with this one meat, cooked in one way, you can make a roast dinner, salads, pasta, curry’s, pies, the list is endless!!)
So the key when living alone and renting (what is essentially somebody else’s house), you need to be aware that they want that house kept in a reasonable condition. Otherwise they will expect you to pay for the damage to it. So while mattress surfing down the stairs seems like a good idea after a few pints when 15 of your mates are egging you on, when your landlord wants you to pay to replace the banisters and that means you can’t afford to eat for a month, it may not seem like quite such a good idea! You need to respect the property you are RENTING just as you did your parents home – hopefully this will help you to avoid any large property damage fees at the end of your contract (when your landlord will walk around the house and check for damage!)
Student years are supposed to be fun but you also need to be sensible – there are many things you will discover when you first live alone (the loo roll doesn’t replace itself and fridges aren’t self-filling) but you will, no doubt, enjoy the experience and learn some quite useful information on the way.
http://www.unipol.org.uk/home Unipol website all about student living
http://www.ntu.ac.uk/ Nottingham Trent University
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/ The University Of Nottingham