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First-year Primary Education student Courteney shares her experience of living in Mardol House - our student accommodation here at University Centre Shrewsbury.

"Having made the long move to Shrewsbury from the North East, it felt like a no-brainer for me to spend at least my first year at UCS living in the student accommodation at Mardol House. I decided on Shrewsbury, rather than perhaps a bigger city, because I was drawn to the beauty of the town and the friendliness of the locals. This plus the welcoming atmosphere of UCS made it very easy to make my final decision. Living at Mardol House was definitely a comforting factor for me as I knew I would be living with people who had also moved quite far away from home, and I definitely made the right decision.

Before the move I felt more nervous than I ever have before; not only was I going to be living on my own for the first time in my life, but I was essentially up-heaving everything and moving it hundreds of miles away to start again in a relatively unfamiliar area. The night before moving day I was a bag of nerves with a million questions running through my mind. The most common worries I had included; 'what if something goes wrong and I can’t move in?', 'what if I don’t like my neighbours?' and 'what if I’m not strong enough to do this?' But five months into uni life I’m still at Mardol House - so it’s safe to say that none of my worries came true! The process of moving went smoother than I could have possibly hoped, with an amazing concierge team providing as much or as little help as you want. I quickly became friends with not only those in my cluster but throughout the rest of Mardol house too, and I’m loving all aspects of student life at UCS! The nerves are natural, but you can rest assured that an amazing team is on-hand during moving day to make sure you have as much of a stress-free transition as possible. If you’re thinking of moving away but are worried about living by yourself, I can’t recommend student accommodation enough - whether that be at UCS or elsewhere, you will become part of a united community with support from so many amazing people.

When I first moved into Mardol House I chose a cluster room, where the room has an en-suite and hard furnishings, but you share a kitchen with five other residents. Once I unpacked I found it quite easy to make my room homelike, and I settled in a lot quicker than I had expected to! All you need to bring is soft furnishings (e.g. bedding etc.) and any other decorations you like (nothing to go on walls!) as the bed, desk, shelves, drawers and wardrobe come with the room. I spent my first term living in the cluster room but once I had found my feet I decided I wanted a little extra independence, so I moved into a studio room. It’s pretty similar to the cluster I was in before, except the room itself is a lot bigger and there is a mini kitchen area with a kettle, toaster, microwave, fridge and sink. We have a shared kitchen with a freezer and ovens for the use of those living in studios, but if you want a quick meal you can usually cook it in the comfort of your own room! I found myself more comfortable in the studio, but for those who prefer to be a little bit more sociable than me, the cluster is definitely more than enough! Plus, bills and Wi-Fi is included in the cost of rent so that’s one less thing to worry about!

So far I’ve loved living in accommodation and I’ve made a lot of friends that I wouldn’t have if I had chosen to live elsewhere! I have met amazing people who do other courses within UCS, and if not for living in Mardol I probably wouldn’t have talked to them much – if at all – as they have lectures elsewhere within the university. There have been countless times where I’ve ended up crying with laughter with these people, especially on Karaoke nights every Thursday, and I think we’ve all helped each other to feel comfortable living away from home. I know it sounds cheesy, but we really are a small, slightly dysfunctional family! The friends I have made have been there for me when I have needed them most, and we also have a residential tutor to provide that extra bit of help should we need it.

I guess what I’m trying to say in the most long-winded way possible is: if you’re moving away but are a bit hesitant to live by yourself, student accommodation is almost like a stepping stone that can gently ease you into independent living. For University Centre Shrewsbury and the accommodation in particular, you are never left without support; simply ask and somebody will always be there for you. I was terrified about moving, and I can honestly say I am so glad I did!"

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