Should I stay or should I go?

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Marsha Dowie –

Having spent one year living on campus and one year in town, it was a fairly difficult decision to make when it came to choosing where to live for my third and final year. However, after one of the best years of my life living in town during my second year, the solution to my dilemma seemed inevitable.
To be frank, my experience of campus accommodation in first year was actually pretty average. Although I had all the luxuries South West campus had to offer (and my bank account certainly suffered for that), there was something other than the ridiculous price that wasn’t quite right about my experience living there.

For me personally, I felt rather isolated. I had and en-suite, and my bedroom was hidden away behind a small wall right at the end of a ridiculously long corridor. Being located in South West, the amount of people walking past my window every day was minimal, and the only call I got on my internal phone was from my flat mate four rooms down. The doors were heavy and slammed shut, and the only door that was open on a regular basis was, once again, my sociable internal-phone- buddy. To be honest it sucked – so when I was offered the chance to live with three lads in Cable Street I took it.

Photo by Jay Theis

Second year was the best by far, and I think that living in town was a major contributing factor. We had a lounge, and our flat was small so we all had our doors open chatting to each other from our bedrooms. It all seemed much more sociable. Obviously, the only down side was the bathroom sharing, and being in my new house this year it still remains a slight inconvenience. Last year there were several toilet blockages and one flat mate (there’s always one) spending that long in the shower that I sometimes had to use the one at the bus station. I can honestly say, however, I have never experienced a dull moment in off-campus accommodation. The living space is the main selling point for me. But also there were moments in campus accommodation where I felt like I was caught up in one big bubble whereas living in town, I do have the luxury of being able to escape.

Jim Tracey –

Who you live with is always going to be more important than where you live. To me, this is an obvious truth – I would rather live in ramshackle, squalid accommodation with a group of great friends than in a luxury flat with a complete ‘see you next Tuesday’. It’s a bit like a night out – it doesn’t matter which club you go to or how many attractive girls (or boys) are out; the night will be determined by the people you’re out with. Fun people = fun times. Thus, logically, living in town with a group of your best mates sounds like it would be the ideal place to be. I would argue that it is, in fact, not as good as living on campus, the more convenient, practical and sensible choice – especially for final year students.

For those of us who actually want a semi-respectable degree, which I hope would be most people, then the proximity to the library really is the selling point of campus. For those who want to buckle down this access is essential – it has all the books you need, and while many books and journal articles are accessible online it is also an environment where you can work without disturbance. The library, unlike a shared house, also won’t have anyone playing really crap ‘Ministry of Sound’ club anthems at irritatingly high volumes. Not only this but also the lecture theatres, seminar rooms and sports centre are all within touching distance.

Image by Alex Stewart, who took this photo, with a camera.

On campus you will not only have the library and lecture theatres on your doorstep, you will also have a cleaner who will ensure that your kitchen and landing are kept in good order. It is easy to understate what a luxury this is, and especially after spending a long shift in the library it really can be depressing coming back to a kitchen which has smashed bottles, rotting eggs and an odour to rival that of a sewage tank.

In terms of shopping, whilst SPAR is one of the most disgracefully overpriced shops in Lancaster you can normally find some good deals in their reduced section. On top of this, ASDA delivery service means that you actually don’t need to leave campus to stock up food, booze and other essentials.

On balance – I would go for campus. It IS more expensive, but hey, you’re probably paying £9000 a year anyway, so why not make the best of a terrible situation?

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