There’s no denying that every student accommodation is different, and the majority of people love their first year living in halls. So, whether you used to live in West Downs at the University of Winchester, or you’re a fresher moving in in the next few weeks, hopefully these 20 points will give you something to smile about in remembrance or look forward to for the future!
1) You’ve woken up to find the West Downs Cat in your kitchen.
One of the best things about West Downs (if you’re a cat lover like me) is that it has it’s very own cat! I firmly believe that if you’ve dragged yourself out of bed for your 9.am and the first thing you see is a cat, you will either question your sanity or find hope in the day getting better.
2) You’ve realised that it is easier to make up a name for this cat than find out it’s actual name.
3) You’ve had an awkward first encounter with your cleaner.
Waking up to find a random woman in your kitchen is almost as confusing as finding a cat and can take some getting used to. One thing is for sure, by the time you leave you will either be best friends or arch enemies with your cleaner.
4) You’ve also made up a name for your cleaner.
Much like the cat, the cleaners name may remain a mystery to you for a few weeks, but that’s okay because you’re pretty sure she looks like a Sandra so that’ll do for the year (even if her name turns out to be Sue).
5) You’d rather climb through a window than walk through a door.
Climbing through windows becomes just as normal to you as walking through a door. As a result of this there’s a few wonky windows but everyone will swear that “it was like that when I got here”.
6) You also like to collect your post and food through your window.
In addition to making an excellent door, your window serves as a great way to pick up your pizza. You’ll do anything to catch the attention of the delivery guy so that he doesn’t ring that awful doorbell.
7) You’ve shamelessly sprinted down the main strip.
If you haven’t run down the strip at least once, drunk or sober, then did you really live in West Downs?
8) You complain about the hill EVERY time you go up it.
One of the first things you notice about West Downs is that getting anywhere involves walking up a fair few hills. Even after you’ve lived there for a few months you’ll still find it necessary to complain each time you go up it.
9) You’ve carried a weeks shop up the hill once…then never again.
Many a naive fresher have thought that the hill “can’t be that bad”, then tried to carry their Sainsbury’s shop all the way through town and up the hill. You then realise that it would probably be easier to run a marathon than to ever do that again.
10) You have friends that don’t live in West Downs who will complain to you about the hill.
You get pretty used to having your non West Downs buddies saying things like “omg I COULD NOT do this every day”, and you’ll smugly say something like “eh, you get used to it after a while”, even if you’re struggling for breath and your legs are on fire.
11) You’ve discovered the wonder that is Aldi and vowed never to shop anywhere else.
Okay, so maybe this isn’t true for every single person in West Downs, but if you haven’t gone there to stock up on alcohol for your flat party then you’ve missed a trick!
12) You’ve spent hours deciding where to go out then you end up at County.
If you love your flat as much as I did it’s likely you’ll want to go out and socialise together. Even though there’s loads of places in town, 9 times out of 10 you’ll end up across the road at County.
13) You’ve had a make-shift BBQ on the grass.
As the summer months approach it is only natural to want a nice BBQ. So you make the trip to Aldi, grab 20 sausages for 99p, set up your best Bluetooth speaker et voila! Just got to keep an eye on that grass!
14) You’ve complained about the washing machines after each wash.
If you can’t take your washing home to Mum each week, the launderette is somewhere you become very familiar with! However, you will have to play a game of “guess the working machine” every time you go.
15) You’ve spent half of your loan in the student shop.
You may think that having a shop about 30 seconds away is great at first. However, when half of your loan gets blown on 5 meal deals, 10 chocolate bars and 6 cans of coke each day you do wonder if it is such a good idea. Then you decide that it definitely is and blow the rest of your loan in the same way.
16) You have a collection of random people’s post.
It’s pretty standard to receive a few letters for people who either aren’t in your flat or left 20 years ago. You can try and track down their owner if you’re feeling nice, but mostly you’ll just end up with a pile of letters which will remain in your flat until you all move out.
17) You’ve only seen about 3 cars that aren’t Domino’s cars since you moved in.
Among a few Tesco and Sainsbury’s delivery vans and some Deliveroo bikes, you see at least 5 Domino’s cars per night. Sometimes you may catch a glimpse of a plumbers van that’s been called in to “fix” the washing machines, but that’s if you’re lucky.
18) You find it perfectly normal to see people sword fighting outside.
At University you come to accept that nothing is weird any more. One of the joys of living in West Downs is getting to watch the many activities taking place in the fields outside our flats. Whether it’s a messy game of football at pre’s or Winchester’s finest swordsmen practicing for their next battle, you can assume that if your window faces grass you will see some funny sights.
19) You’ve heard just about every flat set off their fire alarm by accident.
When you’re not used to cooking for yourself it can be easy to forget what you’re doing, next thing you know your alarm is going off and everyone is mad at you for disturbing the peace. It’s always funny when it’s not your flat though and you get to hear about how the neighbors set their toaster on fire.
20) You’re used to your lights suddenly turning themselves off.
You very quickly realise that your bedroom lights will turn off every 2 minutes if you aren’t constantly moving. You’ll find yourself waving your arms about to get them back on and occasionally someone will see you, but that’s okay because they understand the struggle.
Despite all of the hills, temperamental washing machines and crazy lights you love West Downs. You’ve had some of the best times of your life in that lovely little place and by the time you’re finishing your second semester, you find yourself missing it before you’ve even left.
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Hi, my name is Ashleigh and I'm currently doing American Studies and History at the University of Winchester. I wanted to start writing articles as a way for me to get some of my thoughts and ideas out to the big wide world. I can't promise that what I write will be deep and meaningful but hopefully it can bring a smile to your face and help you look at things from a different perspective. Happy reading!