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When that fateful day comes and you learn that your group hasn’t got back onto campus for second year your mood can become somewhat pessimistic. The frantic rush into town to see six properties in one day to get the best of the remaining deals was one of the longest of my life. Nevertheless, signing a contract for a five bedroom beauty at the end of that day put us on a path that would change our whole university experience for the better. Coming to the end of a year living in town, there are many things we can reminisce about before the usual return to campus for third year.
Firstly, there are the life lessons to be valued from living in a house. In a world of electric trip switches, guttering maintenance and radiator bleeding keys, there’s so much more to accommodation without the security of porters, cleaners or the maintenance guys ready and waiting at the end of the phone. Dealing with landlords, monitoring bill payments and taking the extra initiative to look after your place all comes as part of the package too. The worst reality check is definitely the dreaded cleaning. As a self-confessed typical lad, I was surprised to discover that there was no magic elf that would come and clean the kitchen and corridors while I slept, as regular trips to the cleaning materials aisle in Sainsbury’s and comparing prices forced me to grudgingly grow up sooner than I wanted to.
Although, it’s not all doom and gloom. The beauty of living in town is definitely the increased amount of spontaneous nights out. When you are in walking distance to some of Lancaster’s best pubs and clubs, there’s never an excuse to say no. You can even be lying on the sofa in your pyjamas and watching television before that one phone call to change your mind and you’re out the door and at a house party in 20 minutes flat. For those lucky enough to have bagged a City Block or Chancellor’s Wharf room, having Revolution and KFC on your doorstep must be living the dream. Lancaster’s diversity of pubs, restaurants and entertainment venues is yours to explore around the clock, and there’s no excuse when they’re literally a few steps away.
With living in the city comes a larger level of participation, making Lancaster feel even more like your home. You learn the street names while you walk them every day, visit the shops more often than when you’re on campus and enjoying the buzz of the town more. Yes, it might only be a small in contrast to the likes of Preston and Manchester but you find yourself becoming more and more connected with the place. The occasional visit to watch the boys at Lancaster City FC play, visits to The Dukes theatre or visiting Lancaster Castle are so much easier when living in town; I know I’ve really come to appreciate the little gem that is Lancaster.
Obviously there are pros and cons of living in both town and on campus but being forced to get the best of both worlds can be one of the best things that’ll happen to you and give you memories you’d never thought were possible. Wheelie bin emptying excluded.