9th August 2000
GET SET FOR A NEW LIFE AT UNIVERSITY
Your A-levels are out of the way and a new life at university is on the horizon. But the choices and decisions that lie ahead can be daunting. Where do you start making plans for that first term away from home? Georgie Hadjigeorgiou, Deputy President of the Students’ Union at the University of Lincolnshire & Humberside, can give you a few pointers...
A Place to Live
Now that you’ve got yourself on a university course, the next step is finding yourself somewhere to stay when you get there. Most universities will pledge to make sure that all first-year students find somewhere suitable to live, whether that be in halls of residence, university-owned accommodation or university-approved accommodation. The university usually has a department which deals with all aspects of accommodation, from broken door handles to lists of reputable landlords, and you should make them your first port of call.
If the accommodation office is able to house you in halls of residence, then it is normally a matter of getting in touch to check availability, form filling and sending off deposits that are usually refundable at the end of the academic year. You will be advised by the accommodation department of the best way to claim your deposit back; this involves behaving yourself and looking after your accommodation, so no setting off the fire alarm when you’re cooking at two in the morning, and certainly no trashing of furniture while playing truth or dare!
If the halls of residence are full then most universities do keep an up-to-date database of all landlords with accommodation to rent to students; these are thoroughly inspected and reviewed on a regular basis. After you have contacted the accommodation office they will usually supply you with a list of contact numbers of landlords with property to let in the local area. You will have to ring them to see whether they still have accommodation to rent as some of them will already be occupied by existing students. They will then make an appointment both to meet you and allow you to view available accommodation.
This type of accommodation is mostly on a house-share basis, where you will rent a bedroom and share kitchen and living quarters. Unlike halls of residence, private rented property comes in two sectors: rent inclusive of bills and rent exclusive of bills.
get set, contd...
Rent inclusive of bills varies from landlord to landlord, but it generally means that gas, electricity and water bills are included in the price. This is worth checking as you can be stung for payments, especially when the housemate from hell refuses to pay his share and you then need a camp fire to cook your beans on! So at this point read and re-read your contract so that you know exactly what you are paying for and if any furnishings are included. Ninety-nine per cent of all private rented accommodation includes basic furnishing, but stuff like pots, pans and kitchen utensils you need to supply yourself. Be warned: all of your housemates will turn up with a kettle and a toaster, but no one thinks of the essential bottle opener.
University life is one that suits almost everyone, especially those of you who can’t wait to leave the parental nest and live totally independently. University offers the three main aspects of student life - the academic, sporting and social aspects - allowing you to work hard and play hard. The Students’ Union will organise a fair amount of the entertainment in and around the university, but it also plays an important part in sport, education and welfare issues. So if you need any advice on whatever matter then pop in to your Students’ Union office and they will be able to point you in the right direction.
Even though you come to university to learn, you will learn far more than what you hear in your lectures, and many of you will notice the party animal inside you comes out more frequently. Go wild, participate in all activities, check out the talent and above all make loads of new friends. University is about doing all of this and learning in a safe environment, so make sure that you can still tell the taxi driver where you live after ten pints, eat more than kebabs and manage to make it to those nasty nine o’clock lectures. Enjoy yourself, good luck at university, and remember that there is always someone to help you should you get into a sticky situation!
Deputy President, Students’ Union
University of Lincolnshire & Humberside