Who am I supposed to move in with?

I’m sure that some of you by now know how Sheffield seems to do its housing for its next academic year a little earlier than some other university cities and with that, there does come a few worries. I’m here today to hopefully dispel some of them. So, who am I supposed to move in with?


In short, it doesn’t matter. No really. It doesn’t.

An image of terraced housing in a student area of Sheffield

I know what you’re thinking, and yes, it kind of does matter, as you want your university experience to be filled with lots of wonderful and lovely people that you can share great times with. That’s cool.  I get that.  But, what’s never occurred to me before this year is that it doesn’t matter. And sometimes, the lack of fear and anxiety and going all out on the ‘it doesn’t matter approach’ on the right things (not uni work) can really work, and here’s how I did it… Yes, that’s sounding a little like one of those clickbait-y articles isn’t it?

After my first year in halls, I looked for a house with one of my original halls flatmates – who wanted to ditch the other four or five and live separately with me and a couple of coursemates. Having no knowledge of Sheffield’s premature beginnings on housing the students of the next year, we had not started to look for quite some time and I appeared to be the one who was doing most of the looking. So, my flatmate had some sort of crush on one of my coursemates, and all three of my coursemates were rather flaky to say the least. After our contract was signed, one of them disappeared off of the face of the earth, the other said they’d pay rent but not move in (yeah, weird), and the last decided to contact the landlord and cancel his signature on the contract using some sort of weird clause. We, last minute, had to find another person to live with at such short notice and with two people not pulling their weight, we really didn’t have many options.

Second year in Sheffield rolls around and there is me and my good friend from halls, and two people from my course – one of which did not move in but still paid, and the other who appeared to be quite prickly and non-existent and with one room already down due to one of the other friends dropping out, we had two spare rooms. Oh yeah, and the crush died out making it completely awkward. Whilst it was a lot of effort and massive amounts of stress trying to secure a place and another person or two (we went through about eight or nine different people before giving up), we did have a very nice place located in the gorgeously independent and quaint Sharrow Vale in a place where we had enough space for a few visitors. Both good and bad in equal measure.

My two coursemates were forgotten in my future plans of residency, and my good friend from halls and second year was taking a year in Texas, soooooo… my old halls friends that I wasn’t necessarily too keen on called upon me as one of them was moving out. I should have taken that as a ‘go it alone’, but nonetheless, the wool was firmly over my eyes. I’d moved to Broomhall in a particularly good house (despite the typical ‘if the landlord would have taken care of this place, it’d really be smashing’ rubbish) in an even nicer neighbourhood. I met some of the best neighbours I could have hoped for. There was a man that looked like Gandalf who refused to let anyone on the street but him take out the entire street’s bins, and his wife with whom I used to exchange cooked foods with.  My next-door neighbour who used to brew wines and bake cakes and share them with us, to the ones across the street that would have small street parties – they really were amazing during the throes of the very first lockdown after all of my housemates had lovingly abandoned me.

The problem with them was that there was a break-up. Someone with an irrational hatred of me which stemmed from the rest of the group choosing one of my houses over hers – yes, she was that childish.  Three of five people living there who had clearly not heard of cleanliness and hygiene. More people there that would never say anything to the meanie, and generally a lot of lethargy and hollow falsehoods for friendships. It was a stressful year prior to lockdown, but for me, lockdown really was the best part of living with them. So, pros were that I had a good room for good money with a good neighbourhood, but this time, my housemates were just poor. So poor. Not to mention the two gas leaks and rotten living room floor that acted more as a trampoline than a weight-bearing ground.

A photo of three students sitting on Bolehills

Next year, my fourth, I had known my original two-year friend who had emigrated to Texas would be returning. So, out with the old, and in with the even older. No more beating around the bush as we had both rather had just lived with one another than bothering with all the ‘extras’ of second year, so that is exactly what we did. We found a relatively decent two-bed place close to the uni and spent it together. This was so far the least stressful to find, but yet again, there was a lot of searching as this type of place in Sheffield tends to get snapped up very fast. We were lucky enough that this was the last one left come early December. It was a good year, but seeing as we were at uni, we thought we would have greater contact with other people, and then… more covid.  Me and my housemate grew what some would say as ‘insane’ – I like to think of it instead as eccentrically challenged. Oh, the landlord there was a complete and utter fool who infringed on our peaceful enjoyment of the property no end, so I was still putting great amounts of effort into places with mixed results.

My cousin in Sheffield had also been through a lot of trouble with her housemates and had to put up with some pretty vile people, and she managed in her final year to find the house of people that she’d always wanted – most of whom she will keep in contact with, and she signed this house last minute.  As a result, in the throes of more lockdowns, the looming stress of finding yet another place to live, and I’d be going it alone again as my housemate had decided to settle in Texas, I just said no. No more stress. No more months of searching. No more worrying about what it looks like, where it is, is the landlord good, how much does it cost, who do I live with, what is included, blah, blah, blah. No. I had had enough, and my cousin had finally come to a peaceful property in a last-minute situation, so why couldn’t I? Besides, so many people do it all the time – why not me?

Basically, I waited all the way until April, and had a small look on Facebook one night with the intention of picking a place that same night. They interviewed me. If I was in luck and still in need of a place, they’d have me. Which they did. Just as well, because I had not looked at anywhere else other than this, my third option. Finally, I have some brilliantly friendly housemates in a good area and, most importantly, no stress. It has been beautifully laid back – and I stressed not one bit over it.

My message to all of you who may be losing your heads over such things is don’t, just don’t. Make sure you realise there are so many options out there from advertising websites for housemates and/or rooms in Sheffield to housing fairs run at the uni. There may be no one for you to live with… and? Why should that deter you? You can put out an ad for yourself advertising your requirements on each academic year’s respective housing page on Facebook. You can find so many houses way after the December mark, and good ones too – my message to everyone is don’t panic and don’t put too much in the way of stress into these things as something as big as moving house tends to get infected with the same kind of bad energy. I’m not saying don’t think about it at all and it will be fine, do think about it, just don’t overthink housing.

Good luck!

Written by DP, Digital Student Ambassador, on 17 January 2022.

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