I have been back home now for just over a week and people seem to be utterly surprised at my continuing existence as a functioning human being.
After the general merriment, hugs and pinching of cheeks (always mine) on our reunion, I am then greeted with a quizzical slant of the head and wrinkling of eyes as they scrutinise my appearance.
“You look… really well,” they say, trying and failing to hide their surprise. “You actually look like you have eaten more than a can of beans in the last few months.”
Which I suppose I should take as a compliment.
I have been set a considerable amount of work to do over the ‘holiday’ but so far the only progress I have made is opening a word document and picking a title. After that, I became so overcome with tiredness/laziness I had to lie upside down on the sofa for two hours reading and eating Flakes to get my strength back.
I have loved seeing family and friends again and am already worrying about how I am going to survive without them next semester.
My journalism friends send me daily updates of their positions of pining for our University life, ranging from relatively mild craving; ‘I really really want to go backkk’; to full blown bouts of unhappiness; ‘WHAT IS MY LIFE.’ Either way, I continue in a state of perpetual uncertainty of whether or not I want to go back right this minute or remain in my cosy, albeit slightly duller home town.
Calm as it may be at home, a certain amount of University drama has stubbornly followed me back, mainly to do with housing next year.
For some reason, when the calender turns from September to October, students begin to panic about where they are going to live the following year. This to me, seems vaguely ridiculous. Not only have you only known your future house mates for little over a month, but due to the increase in tuition fees, there are less students this year, meaning there is a surplus of houses.
These facts have gone over the heads of many and even the most level headed seem to have contracted the panic-stricken housing lurgy.
I understand the fear of not organising a house soon enough. With everyone signing housing contracts around you, you feel if you don’t grab a couple of mates and head down to the local estate agents you will be left to flounder alone in halls again during your second year, or end up in a dingy flat with three strangers and an oven that can just about warm bread.
For me personally, the problems have been financial. Living with five or more friends, however lovely and trustworthy they are, means a greater risk of something going wrong, such as somebody unexpectedly dropping out, bill paying etc. Estate agents have contracts for the whole of a student house, not your individual rooms, so if somebody leaves, you are all responsible for paying the extra bill.
So I am planning to live with three others, rather than five. This has led to a certain amount of unhappiness between some of my friends who wanted a larger house, which just isn’t a realistic arrangement for me.
Talking to second years about housing, they all gave a world-weary sighs and tiredly said the same thing: “There’s always drama around housing.”
As hard as you try to compromise, someone is always going to be unhappy about living arrangements. It’s been quite a stressful time during the last few weeks, worrying over what’s going to happen and if we can work out something that is good for everyone. But at the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for your circumstances, not other people’s.
I just hope we can work it all out before going back to halls. Because housing isn’t something to fall out over. At Christmas, all we should be worrying about is all the Terry’s Chocolate Oranges we are consuming. Because at the moment. I worry six simply isn’t enough.
I’ll have to make it seven
Images courtesy of Google