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The unchangeable curses you’re stuck with in student housing

Dear Badger, 

Students are known for their resilience. Most let their houses get so cold and murky that they cultivate mould on their legs during sleep that they have to chisel off in the shower. This leads to clogging of the pipes and flooding, which is acceptable for most students. Most will simply throw a single kitchen towel at the floor then trudge on with their day wearing boots.

This leads to not many giving much thought to the two most pivotal things to look at during house viewings and both are completely unchangeable without considerable effort and cost. Until you can 3D print yourself a new spine to replace the one you shattered with physical exertion trying to replace them, you’d better pay attention to them on your next house viewing.

The first is the sofa. This is where most of your interaction will take place, as well as occasional sleeping by friends. It can also be used as protection against a floor of lava so it’s an essential part of the room. Many students settle in this regard, choosing a house with a floral sofa bought from a clearance shop, sold by a man who asked “are you sure you want that one?”.

Ensure the sofa fits everybody comfortably. Make sure that somebody can sleep on it without having to un-dislocate their neck afterwards by thumping their head against the mantelpiece. This will be a key part of your social life and you need to get it right. If your friend comes over and all you can talk about is what “that smell” is, this will be awful conversation and pretty soon that’ll be that for your friendship. Sofas. Get them right.

Second is the shower. People often complain about the showers on holiday being harder to operate than an assembly line for space shuttles and that the trickle of water received doesn’t nearly wash off the sheer amounts of sweat worked up while trying. But when choosing one to live with, they don’t even try them out despite knowing what they could do to you. This is going to be a key part of your life every single day, don’t settle for a drizzler. Choose a sizzler.

If you’re very foolhardy and get a bad shower and a bad sofa, that conversation about smell is going to be much more prevalent. Worse, you’d have it every day with everybody you meet. You’ll become known as the smelly guy in the smelly house. People will draw plague crosses on your front door and formally ask you to keep your windows shut. All because you overlooked these two key aspects.

In fact, they’re the ones you should look out for the most. While a large kitchen cupboard or garden is nice, you won’t be able to find any workaround for a bad shower or sofa. That’s the basis I’ll be choosing my next house on and you should too. You can solve a lot with ingenuity, but you can’t solve those.

Luke Williams 

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