Back of a car. In the woods. Strangers’ rickety futon. It won’t come to that.

Housing, housing, housing, the part of uni that can cause unwanted and un-needed stress. 

As soon as you get to uni there seems this immediate chatter and, let’s face it, pressure to find your best mates and house for second year. You’ll get hundreds of adverts through your doors, masses of conflicting advice from second and third years and suddenly, there seems to be this rush before ‘all the good houses are gone’. One thing: there are more houses than there are students in Cardiff, so don’t panic.

Now, uni is a sh*t scary prospect and it’s nerve-wracking. If you haven’t quite settled in yet or made the friends that you hoped you would then don’t panic, it’s normal, and you’re going to continue to be introduced to amazing people and situations. 

It’s vital that you don’t make yourself feel alone in these situations, by feeling like you’re the only one in it. It’s so normal for people to live with a random mix during their second year because they weren’t in close enough groups when the madness of housing kicked in before Christmas of first year. A few of us at MUB lived with a random mix in their second year and some of us even stayed in halls. For some of us it meant ending up best pals with those people and for others, the house was simply somewhere to call home and they often ventured out to see friends nearby. It’s easy to feel as if life will revolve around your house but, as many of you may already be finding with halls, it’s not the be all and end all of uni life.

So, the chatter has turned to housing when it only feels like you’ve been at Uni for a week. There’s various discussions going on between different people and it’s causing a slight feeling of anxiety in yourself and between others. You don’t want to leave people out, you haven’t met people you see yourself living with yet, you aren’t quite sure what to make of people yet – these are all such normal feelings so early on. 

“ I haven’t met people I see myself living with yet ”

We’ll try not to give you the information you read everywhere else, but the honest truth and advice from students who have been in exactly your position. The first thing we’ll say because we’ve been there, done that, are doing this, doing that, is join a society or sports team. Even if it’s a Harry Potter society or tea appreciation club, join and go to a few events to expand your network. Many of us joined casual sport teams, like inter-hall or course teams, that required less commitment but were just as fun. Some of us even started our own! We know that, sometimes, feeling down in the dumps means you feel more tired and thus, retreat to your bed to enter virtual reality worlds on Netflix. Even if you have the ‘I don’t wannaaaa’ feeling in your stomach, pick yourself up and drag yourself to a welcome talk or social with these sports teams or societies. The people in charge have been picked because they’re welcoming, friendly, and feel strongly about people enjoying themselves so don’t be nervous. They want you!

Don’t panic if you miss the sign-ups in the first week or so, even if you miss the deadline for joining it’s still an opportunity to get acquainted with a new group of friends who you can meet outside of the society time. There’s definitely a feeling you get as a fresher that everything is big and scary and when you get to third year, you realise how normal it is. I used to spend £30 on fancy dress every Wednesday for sports night because I was sh*t scared of being picked on by the scary committee. Slowly, you realise that they aren’t scary, they’re normal, and they want you to be as happy and involved as possible.

“ I’m not enjoying Uni at all and can’t face the idea of looking for housing yet ”

Then don’t. Honestly, the mad rush between September and December is unnecessary but unfortunately, will never change. You’re not going to end up living in a garage 20 miles from uni if you don’t have housing sorted before Christmas. Try not to think about it before Christmas if you’re feeling like you haven’t met the people you’re hoping to and see it as something that will develop slowly. There will always be rooms available and you have so much time left of this year to find people to live with, people who you gel with and who you want to spend time with. 

You can also become a social member of many sports teams and therefore, have amazing Wednesday night socials without the commitment of training. One of our team remembers breaking up her week by her sports night on a Wednesday because it was her absolute highlight during her first term. “When I met the girls on the team I finally felt like I had met people who got me. We weren’t even that similar, but we mixed well and had a laugh in a way that I didn’t with the people I was living in halls with. My course required loads of commitment so I wasn’t able to train but I went out with the girls every Wednesday night and often chilled and had sleepovers at theirs midweek. Two years later, I’m still living with 3 of them and call them my best mates! I cannot recommend joining a sports team or society enough. It must be the common interest that brings you together with people you may not necessarily think you’d get on with, but you really do”.

If the uni society or sports list doesn’t have what you are looking for and you don’t want to start your own, then Cardiff and the surrounding areas have so many local groups covering a range of interests. 

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Written by Lee Deverill, 10 months ago
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