Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Confessions Of How to Survive Second Year At Uni...

It's like being a freshers, yet you know stuff.

Well you made it. You survived a whole 3 terms at university. You're probably feeling like a boss right now. Thinking you're not far away from graduating and becoming the next Steve Jobs or Alan Sugar? Well my friend, you've got another two years to go yet and you're in for a real bumpy ride!

Most of you will be moving into student housing for your second year and you're probably feeling like a small child on Christmas eve. A whole house with your bestest buddies 100% parent free, lucky you! You're thinking you'll throw a house party every week and you'll earn the reputation as 'The Party House' to your mates on campus. Sorry to burst your bubble kid but second year isn't exactly that.

1. Know your damages. When you move into your student house make sure you and your housemates do a full sweep of the place. I guarantee as soon as your handed over the keys you'll notice things you didn't before...most likely because the previous tenants covered the stiletto marks in the floor with a rug or covered the hole in the wall with a 'Drinking Games' poster. Point them out to your landlord so that She/He will know it wasn't you and you don't get charged. As well as this if anything is broken make sure you get on to your landlord as soon as possible. When myself and my housemates moved in to our house we had a broken boiler, a leaky pipe, a hole in the roof, a roof full of rain water and a broken back gate. You could say the first few months of living in our house were pretty stressful.

2. Say goodbye to sexy skin tight revealing day-wear and hello to those big old grandad cardis. You're a student therefore you can't afford heating so get ready for the coldest winter you'll ever experience. It's safe to say you haven't lived the life of a student until you've sat at your desk in the middle of the day wrapped up in 5 layers of clothing, 2 blankets and a duvet and you can visibly see your breath in your bedroom. You'll also find that your house is actually colder inside then it is outside. How did that even happen?!  My housemates over the winter season thought I was suddenly becoming a tea/coffee addict yet I didn't tell them I was just using the hot drinks to stay warm. You will find yourself living in the library for as long as possible as well because it's unlimited heating.

3. Mold meet student, student meet mold. You probably got pretty acquainted with mold on your loaf of bread and other products last year in your student kitchen however you're about to face a whole new species. As you aren't using the heating as much as a normal household, you're not opening any windows in fear of making your house colder (if that is even possible) and you're creating a build up of moisture in the house due to showers, drying washing and general breathing. This all leads to a huge catalyst of condensation/damp whatever you want to call it. You'll have the traditional 'Our house is damp' argument with your landlord and your landlord will tell you to jog on over the phone. What will you do now? Here is my solution:

  • Open the windows for an hour in the morning. Yes I know it's snowing outside but you've just gotta suck it up. Stick on an extra layer of jumper over your already 4. Having the window open creates air circulation therefore removing any additional water build up.
  • Buy damp collectors. They sell for about £1 in supermarkets. Stick them in corners of your room or cupboards and watch them suck all your moisture away. Cool right? 
  • Try to up the heating a little. I know I know you can't afford it but 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening will be so beneficial for you and your house
  • Invest in mold remover. Spray it on for 10 minutes and watch the mold disappear. It's the closest experience you'll get to being Harry Potter.
  • Don't give up on your landlord. We did all of the above and still faced some minor problems therefore after persistent nagging our landlord finally had a fan installed in our landing. We haven't had a damp problem since! 
4. Not to sound like your mum but enforce a cleaning rota. Seriously. One of the most common causes of house disputes is cleaning or lack of. There will be one or two of you that love a clean and tidy home but you will eventually get sick of being the one to always take the bins out or always cleaning the living room and bathroom. If you're not getting sick of cleaning then you're most likely to be the one not doing enough. A clean environment is a much happier environment so get off your ass, pick up a brush and get sweeping.

5. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Have it for those you're living with. Got on like a house on fire in your first year right? That doesn't mean the same will occur in your house in second year. The environment is smaller and much more intense which means you're all more likely to get on each others nerves.  Little things like not playing music at 3 in the morning or not talking on your phone loudly are great as the walls and floors are thinner and you'll just piss everyone off if you do.

6. Redecorate. No I don't mean pop down to B&Q and buy some wallpaper and paint. You've just moved into a bare house probably furnished by Ikea's cheaper twin and you're asking yourself things like 'Why are all the walls so beige?'. Seriously though, is there a rule with student housing that all walls must be beige? Why pick the cleanest colour for the dirtiest members of society?! ANYWAY back to the point, you're house isn't feeling too homely right? Things like throws, cushions and even posters will go a long way in your living room. You will notice a huge difference between a boy and a girls student house (Sorry guys). A girls house will be decorated with cute pretty things hanging here and there and the air is fresh and perfumed. You visit a boys house and it's most likely to be the bare minimum with beer cans and pizza takeaway boxes everywhere and that ever so famous 'did something die in here?' smell. Oh dear. Guys, no one will judge you if you too buy some cushions and a throw for your sofas. Maybe invest in an air freshener or two....please. 

7. Don't steal. There's always one. In first year you probably experienced the milk fairy who came over night and drank your milk for shiggles and giggles. They're prone to every student kitchen. However in a student house there a less of you so it's kind of obvious who it is and just makes things awkward. So if you had a bad habit of pinching milk, chocolate or anything else in your first year, slap out of it now you bad person as you're only going to end up in big trouble this time. 

8. You actually have to try hard this year. Yeah sorry guys, the laid back approach ends here. You got by first year on a whim, handing in essays 2 minutes before the deadline and attending socials more times then the amount of lectures you attended in a week. Second year counts and by now you know what you're doing. Yes it's harder but you can do it. Show the world what you're made of this time, who knows, maybe you are the next Alan Sugar.

9. Get involved. They say second year is the year for volunteering and other similar activities. Do it. You have so much free time and you will become much more appealing to employers when you're applying for interns and graduate jobs. I did things like building bird houses for local community gardens and teaching drama to kids in school. Do I sound preachy? Good. It'll be me and others a lot like me who you'll be competing against in the job market. Make sure your CV is rich with activities, you'll stand out more. 

10. Have fun! Just because you're a second year doesn't mean you can't still live the fresher lifestyle. Just make sure you're not letting your work slip. And if you're going to host house parties be prepared for dealing with the worlds worst hangovers and a very messy,sticky smelly house the next day. We eventually gave up on the house parties after the second term as cleaning up was just as painful as the hangover itself. 

11. Sorry to end on an odd number but I just remembered. You'll start second year the way you handled first year. Fancy dress prop in one hand and a shot of tequila in the other. The funny thing is, something evil happened over summer. Someone stole your body and replaced it with one that can't handle alcohol like it used to. Over summer your body and liver had a much needed detox without you even thinking about it and as soon as you returned for second year your body took a stand and fought back. So be careful, I got too overly acquainted with my toilet the morning after, this year...much more then I used too anyway.... You're getting old folks! 

If you're a student or you're hoping to attend uni in September and have any questions, don't hesitate to ask! If I can do it then you most certainly can!

L.Bel xoxo


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