It’s the penultimate day of the Manchester Student Homes information stand on the ground floor so we thought that we’d post a final real story about student experiences of accommodation. If you want more information about accommodation in Manchester you can visit the stand in University Place until tomorrow or you can drop into the Manchester Student Homes Fallowfield office all year round.
“Having friends close by but not necessarily all in the same house is a great way to ensure you still see them a lot, without damaging your friendship by having to argue about cleaning all the time!”
In my second year I lived in a house of eight with other students from my halls, in what was an attempt to continue the first-year lifestyle. Our visions were of a constantly full and busy house, of all cooking together in our huge kitchen, and using the large but rather dilapidated basement for the best house parties in Manchester. Our sexist prejudices had led us to believe that, as a house of mostly girls, we would have no problem keeping it clean. The reality was a little different.
Firstly, when you have eight people with very varied timetables and diets living in one house it can be very hard to synchronise tea times. This meant that our dream of all cooking together never happened, and instead we were left with eight people cooking eight different meals every night, generating huge gas bills and mountains of washing up.
Cleanliness began to be a problem straight away. Again, with so many people, it only takes a few hours for a kitchen to go from sparkling fresh to looking like something from a Channel 4 documentary. With such a big group, it became very hard to find any accountability for anything or organise a cleaning rota, so jobs just got left undone. Whilst our parties were, for the most part, successful, the mess created by them never quite got cleared up properly either – it was always ‘someone else’s idea to have the party in the first place’ and therefore their responsibility.
Lastly, our presupposition that a large household would mean a friendly and busy house just never materialised. Spread as we were over three floors, it was hard to know who was in and who was out, so we spent large amounts of time just sitting in our individual rooms, not bothering to go and see who else was there. With such a big house to rattle around in, being there alone at night could sometimes be quite scary too.
Living with a huge group of people in halls is all part of the first-year experience, but I believe that, unless you all know each other really well and know that you will contribute equally to household tasks, it is something that should be left as a fun memory. Of course messy households of four or five people exist too, but I think that the large number of us certainly didn’t help matters. If you want to stay near all your friends from halls, then why not try looking for houses on the same street or in the same area? It’s one of the advantages of the ‘studenty’ areas of Manchester that this is a possibility. Having friends close by but not necessarily all in the same house is a great way to ensure you still see them a lot, without damaging your friendship by having to argue about cleaning all the time!