New job, new city: house share or not?

polycounter lvl 7
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PogoP polycounter lvl 7
Hey guys.

I'm currently finishing up my final year at university, and I've been offered (and I've accepted!) a job in Cambridge, UK, working at Frontier Developments. I'm so excited, it's my first job in the games industry, and I'm going to be working as a Graduate Environment Artist. So on that front, I am really psyched and can't wait to get working on some stuff. (By the way, thanks to everybody who has helped me with my art on these forums, couldn't have done it without people's feedback and crits!)

However, I'm in 2 minds about what to do about moving to Cambridge.

A) Rent a 1 bed flat/house. This would be nice, but rent is extremely high in Cambridge city centre so that's sorta out of the question. I could rent a small place outside Cambridge, but then I'm not living in Cambridge and would have to travel in. Plus, I wouldn't know anybody in the city except people from work, and I can easily see it getting quite solitary.

OR..

B) House share. This option is extremely cheap, like half the price of renting a 1 bed place. Plus I could live in the city centre, right next to work. The other advantage is that I would be living with other people and that would ease me in to the social side of living in Cambridge. Disadvantage is I could live with really unsociable people, or people I don't get along with.

So I'm torn really. Both sides have their pluses and their negatives. Does anybody have any advice they could give? I would love to hear some of your guys' stories.

Also, does anybody actually live in Cambridge and know of any spare rooms? It's a long shot! If not, I'll carry on looking on Rightmove etc, because I know a lot of these rooms get snapped up pretty quickly.

Cheers guys!

Replies

  • Campaignjunkie
    House share definitely. It'll give you a social life outside of work as well as a ton of housewares to use (pots, pans, chairs, plates, silverware, couches) that you won't have to bother buying or bringing with you.

    And once you're established in Cambridge, you can move to your own place or to a better house share after a month or two, or maybe it'll be awesome and you can stay indefinitely.
  • EMC3D
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    EMC3D polycounter lvl 7
    Holy crap, nice Pogo! Woooo!

    I personally would live somewhere alone unless it was with a co-worker or someone I knew. So long as the pay can help me live atleast, hell we're young we can afford to live nice and barely live! :P

    Grats bro!
  • gsokol
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    gsokol Polycount Sponsor
    I think it could potentially work out well to house share.

    When I was going to school I moved halfway through to be closer, and ended up moving in with some people from class...I didn't know any but one of them...who I only knew for a few weeks. We ended up having a 6 bedroom house with 6 dudes. Never a dull moment at that point in my life...it was a blast.
  • crazyfool
    I flat shared when I first got in the industry for about a year and a half and hated every second of it. I will never do it again unless I know the people really well before hand, problem was trainee wage doesnt stretch far when you gotta live in the city and even studio flats where out of the question :(

    congrats though dude :) if you can I would rent solo :)
  • Cody
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    Cody polycounter lvl 10
    Congrats on the job, your work is awesome. You deserve it.

    Live with people in the city. You will be much happier. Sure there is potential for crappy roommates, everyone goes through that. But it is still worth it.
  • Baj Singh
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    Baj Singh polycounter lvl 7
    Cambridge is a very expensive place to live. As you will be working around the Science Park area, your best bet would be around the Milton/Waterbeach area or Orchard Park which is about a 15 minute walk away.

    If its not too much of a convenience, you could try Ely. Its about 20 minutes away on the bus and the house prices are significantly cheaper. The downside is it would be about £90 a month to commute but then if you know someone at Frontier who travels in from Ely in their car you may be able to hitch a lift.

    Personally, I would never houseshare as I hated it at Uni and could never do it again, but you will find rent prices drop significantly as you approach the surrounding villages. Waterbeach is only a 20 minute cycle ride from Frontier.
  • Wahlgren
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    Wahlgren polycounter lvl 10
    Most people you'll live with are probably asshats and in a worst case scenario they will try to get you killed. I lived in a big top floor apartment with 5 others and one was a co-worker.

    Either way. After a while a chick moved in (we didn't have a say, landlords ya know, pff) and well, I fuckin slept with one eye open after awhile. She was so stupid that when she baked cupcakes she put the mix in the forms and put it into the oven... and then went to sleep figuring they'd be done when she woke up.

    I learnt that my door was very good at blocking smell that day.... until i opened it.
    She also enjoyed putting oil on fire and pouring water on it and then asking if hot water was better to use than cold.

    But hey! Drinking/gaming buddies and all that. It's good stuff. You gotta get it out of your system man. Go do a house share and then after a year or two never ever again! Your life will be a richer experience for it! :D
  • EMC3D
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    EMC3D polycounter lvl 7
    Wahlgren wrote: »
    Most people you'll live with are probably asshats and in a worst case scenario they will try to get you killed. I lived in a big top floor apartment with 5 others and one was a co-worker.

    Either way. After a while a chick moved in (we didn't have a say, landlords ya know, pff) and well, I fuckin slept with one eye open after awhile. She was so stupid that when she baked cupcakes she put the mix in the forms and put it into the oven... and then went to sleep figuring they'd be done when she woke up.

    I learnt that my door was very good at blocking smell that day.... until i opened it.
    She also enjoyed putting oil on fire and pouring water on it and then asking if hot water was better to use than cold.

    But hey! Drinking/gaming buddies and all that. It's good stuff. You gotta get it out of your system man. Go do a house share and then after a year or two never ever again! Your life will be a richer experience for it! :D


    LOL I've heard quite a lot of experiences in halls / shared housing, that one is a contender for sure.

    Best ones I usually hear are the fridge drama ones, where people get food stolen or moved. Although the story about some guy with a GLEE song on repeat for 10 hours tops most of them for me.
  • XenoKratios
    I would go with A, but thats me personally.

    If you go with B, I would just kind of keep to myself. If you get too involved your gonna hate it when something bad happens (from experience).

    Congratz btw!
  • scotthomer
    Ahhh well done Liam, im glad youve found something! Frontier is a great place to work I hear, and one of my closest friends is a lighting artist there (Charlotte Johnson) and shes cool as hell, so im sure you'll have a blast.

    As for living, im looking into the same thing in Nottingham at the moment, at present ive spent 3 years living with other people, and whilst its okay, its just a struggle for privacy/to make somewhere feel like home. I dunno, it all depends what you want out of life, regardless of who you live with you'll most likely end up struggling to co-habit. Its just the way things go, ive lived for the last 2 years in a house with my mates and whilst ive enjoyed it, i just really want my own space. Ie, i dont want to have to clean up after other people, fight over the shower, fight over who is going to buy the toilet paper or put the rubbish out that kinda thing.

    That being said, I went to stay with a friend of mine in derby that works at eurocom a while back, and he shared a flat with another artist, the place was amazing, clean with a huge tv and generally was just the kind of place I could be happy to live in. The benefit of living with someone else is that you get to share their stuff I guess, and you can help each other out. Ie, car-share/eating together if you so wish.

    Lemme know what you decide to do, im struggling to come to a decision too!
    Again, congrats dude, its great news!
  • BadgerBaiter
    A couple of my friends have a years placement at Jagex in Cambridge - I think they are going to share but are finding it is quite expensive.

    Personally, if I could afford it I would get my own place as I like my own space, but its good to be sociable as well ;)
  • Wahlgren
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    Wahlgren polycounter lvl 10
    Mr Bear wrote: »
    LOL I've heard quite a lot of experiences in halls / shared housing, that one is a contender for sure.

    Best ones I usually hear are the fridge drama ones, where people get food stolen or moved. Although the story about some guy with a GLEE song on repeat for 10 hours tops most of them for me.

    Oh fuck that shit. If i ever hear that "kids"-song or whatever it's called again I'll go on a stabbing rampage. My GF's roommate listened to it 24/7 for a week when i tried to do portfolio crunching. Lived with gf and her roomate for a month when I got laid off from a job. Arfgh.

    Also. Taking someones food is a criminal offence payable only in blood.
    I'm a great roommate, honest, Just follow dem unwritten roolz!
  • scotthomer
    It seems in my house, regardless of what time it is, as soon as i need a shower, someone else just runs in first and uses all the water, drives me insane.
  • EMC3D
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    EMC3D polycounter lvl 7
    Damn yo, midlands students getting it on, we need a midlands polycount meet up in the future!

    On the room note, most studios usually hook you up with a co-worker from what I've read. But yeah I hear the whole Cambridge area is insane to live in for the price, compared to somewhere like Derby anyway.

    Like I said I'd go it alone or with one other person I could talk to about game-art, and not someone totally random who I'd be worried about getting prison choked in the middle of my sleep.

    Wahlgren wrote: »
    Oh fuck that shit. If i ever hear that "kids"-song or whatever it's called again I'll go on a stabbing rampage. My GF's roommate listened to it 24/7 for a week when i tried to do portfolio crunching. Lived with gf and her roomate for a month when I got laid off from a job. Arfgh.

    Also. Taking someones food is a criminal offence payable only in blood.
    I'm a great roommate, honest, Just follow dem unwritten roolz!

    Don't be trollin' that fridge! I always work with headphones nowadays, even in our University labs we have people playing out crap from the onboard sound, although that's mostly programmers ¬_¬.
  • BadgerBaiter
    Yeah, when my brother went to work for Roke Manor Research after leaving Uni, the company hooked him up with about 3 co workers who were in the same position and needed housemates. They seem pretty well matched and I don't hear too many stories about the dreaded food stealing :/
  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 8
    I've recently moved out of my parents house where I had my own bathroom and a clean kitchen to use whenever I wanted into a room in the downstairs of a house where there are 3 or so rooms rented out with one bathroom and just my toaster oven. If you can afford it I would say rent your own 1 room flat. The ability to use the bathroom whenever you want and be able to cook whenever you want is great. If it's not feasible financially or you really don't want to be solitary (Which I prefer for the most part) then rent a room in a shared house. Just remember that if you end up not liking the room or the roomates you're probably going to be stuck there for a month or two. Luckily things turned out alright for me, but I'd definitely rather live back at my parents house or in a 1 bedroom apartment.
  • PogoP
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    PogoP polycounter lvl 7
    Wow, I checked this earlier and had no replies.. Then boom, 16 of them come along!

    Thanks for all the input guys. There seems to be a pretty even split of advice, which is great. I think, if Cambridge weren't such an expensive place to live, I would rent my own place... But, saying that, I do enjoy socialising with other people and I just know that if I rented a place by myself I would get very lonely.

    I do enjoy sitting by myself on my computer with some good music and just getting some work done, but I think I only really enjoy those solitary times when I balance them out with socialising. I don't think I could do it 100% of the time.

    My experience with house sharing so far has been a very mixed bag. In my first year of uni, I lived with 11 other guys and had an absolute blast for the first 3/4 months. Then tensions mounted.. loads of French guys moved in and they were party crrrrazy. We enjoyed going out a lot, but damn it was every single night! But then they left and things returned to normal and we were having fun again. First year was crazy but we had some pretty horrific incidents (I once left a tap on and flooded the entire kitchen.. We were on top floor so the water seeped down through to the girls' flat below, and even to the flat below that one! Sorry girls!)

    In my second year, it was fun at first but the guys I knew from first year (except for one of them) didn't want to buckle down with work like I did, and carried on partying 3/4 times a week. Again, I enjoy going out but not as much as they did. So we had a few disagreements and ultimately decided not to live together in our third year. We're still in touch but don't talk that often.

    Aaaand that leads me to my third and final, current year. It was brilliant at first, I lived with one of the guys I'd lived with in first and second year and somebody off his course. But then the guy I'd known for years got a girlfriend and was never about.. So I got closer to the other guy in the house and we're really good friends now.

    Long story short; house sharing is hard, but if you live with somebody you really get on with, you'll spend a lot of time together and become really good friends.

    However, I'm thinking that maybe because I'll be house sharing with professionals, it might be a little different. Did any of you guys find that? I am leaning more towards house sharing, for both the financial and social aspects of it.

    Oh and also, thanks for the kind comments guys. Couldn't have got this job without Polycount inspiring and pushing me on.
  • Saman
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    Saman polycounter lvl 7
    It sounds you had the luck/bad luck of sharing your house with some real party students. That's good if you're like them but one can get tired of it really quickly. I suggest you check out a few different places and see if any of them fit you. As you probably already know the rent cost isn't the only essential matter here.

    I lived together with some friends years ago. I hated it because we had problems with almost everything; cleaning, partying, cooking... you name it. I decided to not share an apartment/house with people again. When I lived in London a few years ago however I was really close to move into an apartment with a few people. A large city is good but it can also get really lonely so I really recommend that you move in with some people. Good luck with everything! Congratulations with the job btw ;)
  • Ferg
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    Ferg polycounter lvl 11
    For the love of god, just make sure beforehand that none of your roommates are alcoholics. Of all the bad roommate stories I've lived and heard, that's definitely the most common, easily avoidable problem.
  • Nysuatro
    I have had only good memories of sharing a house/apartment with other people.
    It is an experience you have to had once in your life. There is the risk the other person is not someone you would like. But it is a good exercise to learn how to live with people that make you crazy.
  • thomasp
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    thomasp interpolator
    for a start you could just make sure that the house/flatmates are professionals with a similar rythm as you'll have one. moving into a place with a lot of fluctuation and partying students is probably a pretty bad idea.

    also, don't move close to the pubs if you value your sleep. having people break up relationships in your backyard every weekend at 4 am is not particularly pleasant to listen to. ;)
  • Shiv
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    Shiv polycounter lvl 10
    Just got to say congrats dude! I live around there :D
    I used to cycle into work (at the cinema/tesco) every day 20 miles a day. Since its so flat everywhere it really isnt much effort after the first week. So if you are up to it you could look at villages and other areas near by and go for that. might even be cheap enough for you to get yourself a nice place.
  • fearian
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    fearian Polycount Sponsor
    Hey Liam! I was in a similar position to you a year ago so I thought Id share my findings! Not sure if any of it will be helpful, haha.

    I moved to Cambridge for a few months for a work placement position at Jagex, - just across the road from Frontier - so you're probably looking for similar stuff I was! I actually ended up in a flat share with a bunch of fairly random people I didn't know and the guy on my floor opposite me turned out to be a programmer at frontier.

    I'd recommend looking for a place closer to the studio than town. Buses in Cambridge are really good, and just about every stop will get you into town easily enough. Maybe obvious, but get a bike if you don't have one! :) I'd be careful looking at places in Arbury, its kind of a shithole in places. Chesterton is a bit better. I ended up in a flat in Orchard park, off Kings Hedges rd which was close to the Science Park and full of great flats - but has that kind of barren 'new housing development' look to the outside of it. Most places off Kings hedges or Milton rd are nice enough. Again, I highly recommend living within easy cycling distance unless you're set on driving :P

    As for flat shares, I'd recommend them, in general. My first year of uni I was placed in halls with a 7 other people and we all clicked, it was fantastic, and I lived with them in flats for two more years. In Cambridge I got a houseshare with 'professionals' and it ended up being very quiet. Everybody worked slightly different hours enough that I never really saw anyone coming or going, noone really knew each other that well and everybody kept to themselves. I wasn't the most sociable person at the time, but it was very dull!

    Cambridge is irritatingly expensive, everything is priced like you're in central London, its bizzare. It's a really nice town to shop and drink around, very lovely in the summer! Go punting in the sun as soon as you can, it's a fantastic way to relax with some beers in the sun. Get one for two hours to make the most of it, and make sure to tell the guy renting you the punt you're a local, not a tourist ;)

    Have fun you lucky bastard! :D

    E: and come into London the the Polycount meetup that's probably happening soon around May! It's very easy to get into London on the train!
  • imyj
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    imyj polycounter lvl 6
    My name is Liam, coooooooool.

    When I moved to Nottingham I was pretty sure I wanted a flat by myself. I know people who live with co-workers and for most; the last thing you want to do is go home and still be thinking about work. I'm a clean guy so I hate a messy kitchen and living room which is another reason why I decided not to share with another person since I've lived with like 11 guys over the past 4 years. I loved it when it was in halls since we all got on great, but it's nice to have your own space too.

    The issue with living by yourself is that you're paying almost as much as a 2 bedroom place. All of the artists @ work share with other people - I think I'm the only one not to. I like being able to have friends over without the place being a mess.

    What you could do.. is get a 6 month contract for a flat, and share with someone else. This way.. you'll have saved quite a bit of money which you can then put towards furnishing an unfurnished flat. Since I've been living in my place for about 6 months; it seems like it would have been a good idea in retrospect! :)
  • PogoP
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    PogoP polycounter lvl 7
    Would love to come to the London PC meetup, meet some of you guys!

    Cheers for the long post Fearian, really informative. I think I'm gonna look for a house share fairly soonish. Might even wait til May so I know that if I find a place, its not gonna get snapped up before I'm available to move in.

    And Liam... Hello. Liam's one of the best names going man :D I think what you've described there is exactly what I want to do (well, the end of what you said) anyway! I'm going to find a place to live in for 6 months or so, and even if it is a shit hole, I'll be able to find another place early next year.

    I'm glad Cambridge is so close to London, I have family and a few friends in London so I could meet up with them.

    I'm so excittttted, and I just can't hiiiide it!
  • BadgerBaiter
    Got that Friday feeling, eh, Pogo?
    :p

    Would be nice to go to a London PC meet... all my friends are into programming games and I much prefer the 3d side of things... would be nice to meet likeminded souls...

    When do you start, Pogo?
  • PogoP
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    PogoP polycounter lvl 7
    I start on the 23rd of May, so like 6 weeks tomorrow! Crazy!

    Is there a London Polycount meetup? We should get something organised if there isn't :D
  • BadgerBaiter
    Ahh groovy :D

    Well, there is a thread about a London meet, but only places have been mentioned... and I think dates in May were being thrown around?... :/
  • fearian
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    fearian Polycount Sponsor
    I'll just drop this heeeerree: http://www.polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?t=81403

    Yeah, we gotta lock down a date soon or it won't happen! I'll harass Andy into finding out whatever dates he is around.

    It's good fun! Everyone should go! OK [/derail] :P
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