Dear freshers, this is what Sussex halls are really like
The Park Village ladybirds don’t pay rent
Choosing accommodation for your first year at university is an undeniably daunting prospect. In a confused flurry of open days, prospectuses and financial calculations, you must hurriedly make a choice that will define your Freshers' experience.
At Sussex, things are more difficult than most. Extortionate rent and wildly different accommodation options make it almost impossible to separate silly urban myths from genuine issues. Speaking as a weather-beaten second year, this is what you should look out for:
East Slope really is the hub of the party
As the oldest and cheapest accommodation at Sussex, East Slope leaves a lot to be desired in the luxury stakes. In fact it's pretty grim, and is due for imminent demolition. If you’re looking for an ultra-comfortable, home-from-home feel, then it probably isn’t ideal. This has given East Slope something of a negative image, but it’s a tad unfair. Whilst it’s not the last word in refinement, occupants distract themselves by holding some of the best parties on campus.
The close proximity to East Slope Bar and The Hatch will also prove an added bonus for those with a hankering for Slopebites and Mozzarella sticks. If you’re looking for a good time and to live first year to the full, then East Slope is the place to be.
Northfield and Swanborough are a bit dead
Conversely to East Slope, the poshest accommodations are arguably the dullest. Whilst there are exceptions, these aren’t the most social of places. Occupants come and go, staying in their snug flats away from the action. As housing to live in, they are beautifully equipped with en-suite bathrooms, cosy bedrooms and plush living areas, but their overly peaceful, quiet atmospheres don’t make for especially lively nightlife. The sound of silence is broken only by the guffaws of prosecco-quaffing gap yah enthusiasts with more gym-memberships than sense.
The single noteworthy thing about Swanborough is that the overzealous use of windows makes privacy impossible. The reality of this is harrowing, so unless you want to watch that obnoxious couple in Block Three having increasingly depressing sex, it isn't a particular positive. Meanwhile, Northfield is best known for being about as far away from central campus as it's possible to be. Put bluntly, Swanborough and Northfield are the Four Weddings and a Funeral to East Slope’s Trainspotting.
You’re not going to be out every night
Whilst this is possible if you have the strength of spirit and bank account to fund it, you’re going to spend most of your time keeping the existential dread at bay. A lot of freshers enrol at Sussex imagining an endless stream of debauchery and drunkenness, but unfortunately reality soon bites in the form of 9am lectures, low funds and coursework. It’s not all bad though, promise…
You will definitely make friends
It doesn’t matter where you’re living and how little you might have in common with your flatmates. You'll find shared interests and will make some lasting friendships faster than you’d think. Yes, you’ll most likely grow to despise the person who never washes up, but as long as you emerge from your room once in a while, you’ll be greatly rewarded. Whilst societies, social gatherings and club nights are all fantastic places to find new mates, just spending a little time in the kitchen with your flat will go a long way.
Stanmer Court is not as isolated as you think
Despite being cut off from campus by the A27, Stanmer Court isn’t quite as lodged in the wilderness as you’d think. For starters, the proximity to both Falmer Station and bus stop make it the perfect place for a massive pre-drinks. Your thumping music isn’t going to be seen as a calling card for passers-by to gate-crash either, because…well there aren’t any.
Additionally, the newly-launched Pizza Station right next door means you’ll never go hungry again. Put simply, if you can stomach the trek across campus, Stanmer is Sussex’s dark horse: cheaper than Northfield, Lewes Court (phase two) and Swanborough, and with just as strong a party scene.
Just stay away from anywhere with Park in the name
Park Village is hell on campus. Mordor. Everything that you can think of being an issue in university accommodation is provided for by this sorry clump of buildings. If tiny kitchens and non-existent living areas are your thing, then the 'Village is the place for you. If you have a penchant for insects and would rather they shared your bedroom, then you're also in luck.
Unfortunately, these well-publicised problems have ensured that Park Village isn't the most sociable housing, with the lack of living area or even dining tables making anything but idle corridor chat nigh-on impossible. The bugs don't exactly shout "party central" either. For freshers brimmed with optimism, this can be something of a let down.