Moving into student houses is a big step, with lots of new things to think about, as we talked about in our previous article – making yourself at home. Now that you’ve settled in, it’s time to venture out and explore your local area. You’ll be living here for the best part of a year, so it’s going to be handy to know the ins and outs of your particular part of Lancaster.
On your doorstep
The first step is to get to know your neighbours. Just knocking and introducing yourself can lay the groundwork for a friendly relationship and remind your neighbours that not all students are loud late night party animals. If you do decide to have a party, especially in the early weeks, it’s worth letting your neighbours know and setting a reasonable cut off time for music and loud noise. Get them onside and you can party till late; wind them up and they’ll be calling the police at 9pm.
Existing neighbours of your student houses are also worth chatting to because they will know the best local shops, including where is cheapest and where is open late. It’s good to find these things out when you first arrive, so you’re not left wandering the streets at 11pm in the freezing December cold searching for somewhere that sells flu remedies.
GPs and dentists
If you live away from the campus in student houses, then you should consider registering with your local GP and dentist. When you’re feeling like death, or you have a horrible toothache, you’ll be glad to have somewhere close by, rather than a long bus ride into the uni health centre.
Lancaster has an excellent bus network, which can get you around cheaply and easily, so find out where your nearest bus stop is and get timetables for the routes that stop there. You may find that the nearest stop is not the best, and that a short walk brings you a better choice of services. While you still have some of your student loan left, take a taxi to one of your lectures. That way you will know how much the fare is, and you can put that money aside for that morning of the big exam when you oversleep and miss the bus.
Look out for jobs advertised in local shops, pubs and restaurants. Having a part time job will make your finances much easier, and if you can find one close to home, it makes it so much less of an effort to go to work and makes your shift feel shorter too. If there’s nothing on offer, put together a brief CV and letter and drop it into the places you’d like to work at. Better still, introduce yourself to the manager and leave your details in case anything comes up in the future. That way you’ll be the first to know.
Lancaster University has a tonne of societies catering for all kinds of interests and activities, but remember you’re free to do other stuff too. Getting involved in local sports clubs and special interest groups, or volunteering with local charity organisations, are a great way to feel part of your local community and can look really impressive on your CV. Even just taking your housemates to a local pub quiz can be a good break from the non-stop student stuff.
You’re not in halls anymore
After your first year cossetted in halls, becoming part of a local community in the real world will feel like a very different experience. But if you take the time to get to know your local area and make the effort to get involved in that community, it can be a really rewarding and fun experience.
If you’re looking for student homes around the Lancaster area visit Lancaster Student Lettings for a variety of accommodation to suit your needs.