In accordance with my greedy consumption of social media I happen to follow the Huffington Post on the mafia boss of the 21st century society that is Twitter. I follow and read but rarely tweet and it is through this medium that I acquire coverage of the news. In August I found a news article reporting that York University is facing an accommodation crisis having taken on too many students that it can comfortably accommodate, thus meaning that some fresher's face being ejected from the campus accommodation. This news however distressing to what was the forthcoming 2013 intake at York of which no doubt it is is of no surprise to my unsurprised self. Accommodation debacles and universities over indulgence in taking on far too many students than it should is something of an old friend of the family for me.
On Thursday 18th August 2011 I received my A-Level results which confirmed I had earned a place to study at Edge Hill University, later that day I received an email from their accommodation team informing me that I had been unsuccessful in achieving a place on-campus in halls. I was disappointed but that was of course until I was presented with alternative options and there were several possibilities I could stroke my chin over. I could remain at home and revel in the comforts of said home, I could explore student housing with private landlords or the likes of Cosmopolitan or Unite, the latter of which only appeared to Unite people with their overdraft, given the prices. I had all of the aforementioned options introduced to me though there was one more final, last chance saloon of an option and that was to relocate to Pontins Holiday Park in Southport.
Between me and my mother we immediately decided that Pontins, Southport sounded like the place to be and I promptly signed up to live there for my first year at university, a decision I have not come to regret yet. I had a fabulous time at Pontins and it certainly did offer a completely different experience and more than anything halls of residence could ever have dreamt up for me never mind provided. That being said there is only such a degree to which 1960's style, single glazed and penny pusher machines can compensate for one not attaining a place in halls. The crux of it all is that I was presented with an opportunity, not necessarily one I would have chosen or even dreamt up, but one that turned out to be something I could now not have imagined not happening. I suppose the point I am trying to emphasise here is that halls of residence on-campus is not necessarily the be all and end all. In fact, I have learnt that regardless of where you are living be it on-campus, off-campus, or at a recently liquidated and newly bought out holiday park, if you are with new first year fresher's everything will function organically and be as it would be in halls of residence except somewhere else.
You as a naïve first year undergraduate have the whole world in your hands, your first year is going to be what you make it, you will get out of university what you put in and halls will not inherently guarantee a fun, amazing or idyllic first year at university. I cannot help but wonder what would have happened had I lived in halls of residence and not found myself most weeknights in 'The Fun Factory' tapping my foot to the forgotten heroes that are The Vengaboys. Though it could be argued that had it not been for the lack of on-campus accommodation, rising tuition fees and resulting influx in applications I would not be able to boast to this very day that I have seen Chesney Hawkes, Bucks Fizz and someone who made it to judges houses on X-Factor eight years ago all in one weekend. My message I hear you cry? Everything has the potential to be a blessing in disguise!