Laura Mulqueen explains the differences between on campus accommodation and renting a house, and how the temptation of a 3 in 1 is a daily occurrence.

As a first year I was fortunate enough to secure on campus accommodation. However not everyone is this lucky. Living on campus has many benefits such as college security, lump rent payments and close proximity to lecture buildings. As a first year I, like so many others, was completely clueless as to where I was going, how to socialize or even what a lease meant. In time these things became more familiar to me.

The easy accessibility to college was one less panic, it made the run to be on time for lectures much easier and it was far easier to attend events in the Student Union or for societies when I didn’t have to travel far. It is impossible to not make friends when living in a building with such a high volume of people, especially college students. My first friends at college were my housemates.

As I moved from Clare to Maynooth all of my friends went to different universities. This was the scariest bit for me as not only had I to make new friends, but I had to like them because I was living with them. There are a few things that college will teach you; patience and endurance are two of them. Living in a strange place where drunken people stumbling into doors and yelling loudly at two in the morning is the norm can be difficult to become accustomed to. However, having on-campus security and resident assistants is a huge comfort. It means there is somebody to ring if things go badly wrong, whether it be a party you organized or not.

In my final year I decided that I needed a taste of renting a house and paying bills before entering the big bad world. It is much easier to manage a house when you get along with your room mates so well. Everyone pays their rent on time, we all cough up for the bills and help out with the cleaning. Perhaps best of all, everyone is conscious of turning off unused lights and remembering to switch off the immersion. Compared to an apartment on campus there is also so much more space. We have a garden, a big kitchen and comfortable couches.

Living in a house where there are no weekly inspections does call for a lot of responsibility to keep the house clean and in working order. If there is a leaky radiator or an unusual smell of mold it is up to us to sort it out. It has also taught me to be more financially conscious of how much money is spent on bills each week.

My preferred choice is definitely rented accommodation. Campus is excellent for meeting new people. However as a final year student I am enjoying the peace and quiet that comes with a residential estate. I choose who to live with,I see the bills and see where my money has been spent. Sure I have to walk to college, but that counts as my exercise for the day, right?

There is one downside I should probably make you all aware of: the smell of various take outs and restaurants every evening as I walk home through the main street of Maynooth. Maybe it is good I have that walk to college each day. Really, what harm can a 3 in 1 do after the tiring day I have had coupled with the torrential rain on the way home? It all adds up!