So I have just finished my first year at Exeter University, and moved out of student halls. I was put in Northernhay House, a privately owned self-catered accommodation. Being self-catered has some huge perks: you can eat whenever you want, meaning you don’t have to get up ridiculously early for breakfast or have to be home at a certain time for dinner. You also get to eat whatever you want, which is nice. Tho' if you are in catered halls, you get all your meals cooked for you, which is an extra worry taken care of. But the worst thing about being self-catered is how communal dining is such a more social experience.
The best, and worst, thing about Northernhay is the location. It is not on Campus like many halls, but instead it is right behind the high street. This is fantastic in many ways, being only a few yards from shops and bars and clubs and cinemas and everything is wonderful. It means that you can go to the high street on a whim. The only drawback is that does give it a fair walk to campus, about 20mins to the bottom of the hill, and puts it even further away from all the other student halls. Also it can sometimes be unbearably loud with traffic, if you have a window on the side of the building I was on.
Northernhay also suffers from being privately owned. The free internet we were promised at the beginning of the year turned into paid internet and the promised parcel collection service was stopped. The building also suffered from electrical problems while I was staying there, meaning we lost power for days - and no power meant everything in the kitchen was offline, there were no lights, no water, and no heat, for a long stretch of a cold winter. This sucked. But I guess then there is an upside to being privately owned, that you are left alone for much of the time.
My room in Northernhay was actually quite nice. It had a shared bathroom, but that was never a problem, and it was only a single bed, but then that is normal is most places. It had a nice and big desk, with a decent chair, and a large cupboard. The room had an odd shaped wall that prevented me from putting my bed flat against the wall, which was inconvenient, but I got used to it. The room was actually pretty big, and once I had everything set up, it was a really nice place to be. Tho' I should mention, Northernhay has incredibly thin walls. You do hear almost every word of anything the person in the next room says.
Anyway, Northernhay was not brilliant. There were big electrical problems while I was there, the long walk to campus was inconvenient, and opening the window was unbearable due to the noise of traffic. But then again, being so close to the city centre was wonderful, plus it was nicer than some of the other halls I saw, and my room was larger than expected. I enjoyed my stay there, and I will miss it, despite its flaws.