1 – Student life in Cathays
2 – Communal House – Living, Moving in & Moving out!!
3 – Anti-social activity
4 – Noise and your household!
5 – Waste and your household!
6 – ’52-weeks-a-year-student’
7 – Mold in student houses
8 – Gardens and green spaces
9 – The rat infestations in your home & garden
10 – …… so you’ve decided to throw a house party!
15 – Student relationships, friendships and dating
16 – Student Isolation: a choice when to stand apart from the bad crowd
17 – Engagement with residents, faith groups and local businesses to help your student research/dissertation work
18 – Identity Fraud
20 – Leaving University and departing Cathays
The majority of students in any university are mature, sensible and conduct themselves appropriately. Yet let’s not sugar coat it: Student life is very damn difficult – as much as some have some romanticised ideal of student life the last 50 years to be one of parties, mass-sex and debauchery – many find the experience quite difficult, suffering mental health issues, stress, finding communal living to be absolute hell, homesickness, then leaving degree at the end asking themselves was it even worth it?
The people who have contributed to this page have gone through what you are about to experience in the last 1-25 years and the clichés are ever evident!
The more accurate truth/fact is the difficulty of many of you having two jobs in term time and three jobs in the summer, being quite disconnected from the politics, societies and other aspects of student life. This page has been created to support the difficulties of many students having endured and some guidance to make your life a little bit easier in Cathays – regardless of what University/college you attend.
The common difficulty of one/two jobs in term time and two/three jobs in the summer has always been a harsh clichés that has continually increased with students since 1990. This page has been created to support the difficulties of many students having endured and some guidance to make your life a little bit easier in Cathays – regardless of what University/college you attend.
We do NOT promise any magic ingredients to make everyday amazing; yet this page’s subsections will support you in quite a few areas of your students (and postgrad – perhaps even early professional years) life!
Student life is difficult regardless of your family income level – yet it can be very tough for those on the lower-income stream of families in the UK.
From intimidation by the alpha males, to sexual-harassment that comes from many different angles/places/people – some can find the university experience to be a miserable and very isolating experience!
With the bizarre cliques that exist which makes many undergrads look like overgrown sixth formers – many of the decent 18–22 year old students can become quite isolated; which has resulted in students either tolerating the isolation or some build friendships through the part-time jobs (which probably means 20-30 hours a week during term time) that you undertake in the locale.
This is one of the most challenging and hardest issues of all in being part of a ‘student house’. Yet many of you are disillusioned to believe as soon as you graduate you will be free from the problems of living in an HMO (House of Multiple Occupancy) as many HMO’s have professionals living together in their 20’s, 30’s, through to 60’s (yes for a multitude of reasons!!)
You should consider your 2 to 3 (or more) studious years in a communal house a ‘training’ for the next ten-twenty years that many of you will be forced to live in communal houses in your first decade or two of your professional working lives!
When is the right time to start house hunting?
There are multiple issues you’ll face when living in Cathays and surrounding districts. You’ll be pressured to look for a house in the first term by the unnecessary forces of the unruly letting agencies! You can wait until Easter before you begin searching for a house to live in next academic year. For most 1st years you’ll land in halls of residence (a whole mixed bag of problems in itself!)
There is an excess of empty HMO houses now in Cathays – and as many student properties are unlet come September (thankfully our students do have choices now!) each year – you are not going to be in danger of not having a property to move into! With all these mega halls being built, some landlords are actually changing their game tactics and only take on professional tenants in the 2010’s/2020’s.
If you wait until January to March of your 1st year, it will give you time to properly bond with your peers and give you more time to make an decent guess of what other students you will want to live with. By forcing students to look for accommodation in the very first term – people who don’t know each other unwisely get houses together and by the end of the 2nd year everyone falls out and goes their separate ways and experience more undue stress of locating a house for the 3rd year (or more). TAKE YOUR TIME – you can be here a good 4-6 months before the fire is lit to begin house hunting! There are plenty of properties to choose from!
Setting up house!
When you move into your communal house – a few sound tips:
- Put nets up in windows – and flowers if you can stretch to that on the window sill; this will allow the house to look ‘domesticated’ and reduce somewhat the threat of break-in’s during the term-breaks!
- Make sure you put bins out on proper days and adhere to council guidance (see all this below!) so you do NOT get fined the usual £100 for not putting bins out/contaminated bags etc.
- Plants in the house (which you will need to water regularly) will help to keep the place smelling better and filter out some latent cooking, smoke and other smells etc. Some people believe it helps absorb some moisture too to possibly reduce mould in your homes.
- MOULD – a big problem so make sure the place is aired out! See section below!
Please talk to your neighbours!
Believe it or not a lot of the 1,200+ families around you in Cathays are part of a highly socially mobile workforce with hundreds of graduates who have worked in local industry, commerce and council as well as the four universities (don’t even try to look down your nose if you see an academic living in Cathays!)
These are the people who will take your parcels in when you are in lectures, in your part-time job or when you are away visiting friends and family.
The families who live near to you are the ones who will keep an eye on your house when your on term break. If you build a good relationship with them, the families will support you and we’ve had a marked improvement in student/resident relations in recent years.
Your Cathays wishes to take this opportunity to thank the students who help out the senior citizens and more vulnerable of our families. It has been commented by a lot of our elder ladies how they miss the all-girls student houses when they depart every 24 months. It is one thing that has been consistently mentioned is the positive relations our students have attempted to be supportive of our elders. THANK YOU!!
3 – Anti-social activity and negative street relationships with neighbouring residents/neighbouring students!
You will NOT be victimized by the 1,200 families that live here. We all fully recognise that it is just 5-10% of the students negative activities that give the other positive 90% of our students a mis-judged and unfair bad name!
However 5-10% of 30,000 students in Cardiff is approx. 1,500 – 3000 students and when they let down the other 27,000-28,500 decent students with their minority ruin everything mentality – it can make things difficult in Cathays, Plasnewydd, Splott, Heath and Adamsdown!
Make no mistake the increasing level of graduates who choose to move/stay in Cathays has significantly increased in the 2010’s. The social outreach work undertaken by Davius Consultancy since the recession resulted in the formation of ‘Your Cathays’ in 2011 – by this effort relationships have been built with as many possible families and young professionals on EVERY street in Cathays – which has lent to a stronger community cohesion, reporting and action being established!
As past students – hundreds of your neighbours in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s have ‘been there – done that’ and so are more empathic and supportive of the 1000’s of students
The real stars in Cathays are the grandparents who generally are the most supportive demographic in Cathays and help our students out a lot. One classic story which repeats itself is all-female student communal houses who build strong relationships with the elderly (helping them out with bins etc.)
Fortunately with increasing level of domestic surveillance being set up all over Cathays – this has been used as a positive tool …..
Some positive tips to make your stay more pleasant in Cathays!
Calling 101 does a tremendous amount of good in Cathays. The students make use of this number to report noises, potential dangers and
Many families and professionals in the Cathays district act quickly on the anti-social activity of noisy houses. £1000-00p fines are given out across Cathays for people who get repeated warnings for anti-social noisy activity. Think about the students around you getting ready for their exams, think about all the young 25-40 year old professionals/families who now have young babies and infants living in Cathays. They don’t deserve to be keep awake by 5% minority of students who ruin it for the other 95% of our amazing community-supporting students.
The fines are going out every year – and no street in Cathays is immune to the regular £100 ‘bin fines’ that go out. Make sure you cover yourself!
- Separate your waste!!!!
- Food into the Kitchen Caddies
- Then each week put the contents into the larger kerbside caddies – EVERY WEEK.
- Recycle everything that you plausibly can, by putting them in the Council Green Bags – EVERY WEEK
- The Red & White bags (you will be issued with 3 roles at the beginning of the academic year – ONLY if you live in a street that does NOT use wheelie bins!) are the successors to the ‘black bags’ which are easy to see through (and therefore the council staff can see if you’ve put food or recyclate into the wrong bags – and they will fine you for mixing your waste!) then put these out EVERY FORTNIGHT!
Sign up to the Tidy Text for simplistic reminders! Click on this link: https://www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/resident/Rubbish-and-recycling/When-are-my-bins-collected/waste-reminders/Pages/default.aspx
Toilet Waste and what NOT to flush away!
Fatbergs are a serious reality which concentrated populations of every city in UK (and too many increasing numbers of towns are now feeling the burden too of ‘irresponsible flushings’ resulting in fatbergs amassing all over the UK!!)
Only put human excrement and toilet paper down the toilet and nothing else: Particularly Do NOT put:
- Wet wipes
- Tea towels
…. these (above listed) down the toilets – if they are used/in a nasty way – put them in the normal kitchen bins (or preferably in a used 5p plastic bag from the local shops if you wish to hide it from your house mates!) then inevitably into the larger red/white bins!
Many students are here throughout the year (mainly as they have lower employment prospects back home for summer/season work or part-time work – or they just prefer Cardiff) and if you are in Cathays you are amongst the increasing demographic of 1,200+ families who live, work and play in Cathays!
Venues such as ‘The Cons Club, Cathays’, ‘Face 11’ and ‘Cathays Sports & Social’ have become popular places in the summer (as well as term time)
The Cathays Monthly Update is available to anyone who wishes to have their email added to the BCC list. You’ll be apprised of regular activities which you may wish to participate in or just check out the new businesses offers, coffee houses etc. Its there to help Cathays keep running 52 weeks a year!
One of the biggest clichés and a cause of great misery which our students suffer greatly. So – how to overcome this?
- Open the windows – place the windows on catches (for safety sakes) and let the house breath.
- BEFORE you even start complaining about getting cold – PUT a jumper on!! A minority of students are spoilt at home with endless heating – it’s time to be like the majority, put a jumper on and adapt to the cold!
- Get some house plants – in every room if possible. The student unions do a house plant sale once EVERY year (sometimes more)
- When you dry your laundry – put it on a clothes airer by a large window if possible. If you put clothes on heating, it will only evaporate and dissipate loads of water molecules around the house causing damp patches.
- One cheeky application some students have tried is to hand their washing up on the window’s curtain rails with window on the catch (stopping the burglars getting in) yet the 1cm gap will bring air in which will dry your clothes safely within 12-24 hours – if they are hung up properly it will knock a lot of creases out too!
With more choices available to our students, it is good that several of our landlords have made efforts to create decent functional gardens for you to enjoy.
If you are a smoker, who is respectful of their peers and takes their cigarettes outside – is there a ‘smoking roof’ you can scuttle under if it rains mid-smoke?
Going on flat roofs WILL be reported by your neighbours – it is dangerous as well as anti-social and intrusive on your neighbours. Make no mistake thinking it’s okay to party on the roof will end in your neighbours complaining to your landlord and him/her chasing you up about it.
Many students do make demand these days for garden space, even if it’s just a roof space to cover their bikes they lock up in the garden, or have a social gathering; the better end of the landlords are beginning to improve the garden space for our students to utilise.
By the 2020’s, 2030’s more on-site composted will be responsibly conducted by the majority of undergrads upwards. This may seem idealistic, yet many said recycling would not catch on in the 1990’s and in the 2000’s our students contribute a significant amount of waste diversion away from landfill to the recycling (green bags).
Composting at home?
Although all students would prefer to have a garden (instead of a mess) out back, only a very small minority of students are hardcore gardeners, growers and composters – even if in-house composting facilities are not available, please do use the kitchen caddy/kerbside caddy system the council have given you – and put it out with your Green Bags and other waste every Tuesday evening (or very early on) Wednesday when the bin collection occurs!
The long term postgrad community who are here for 3-6 years a piece will look into finding a decent home where they can ………….
The rats will run all over any town or city and rumours of how big they can get do not help the situation. Fortunately the giant rats phenomenon is not real in Cardiff – yet thousands of normal sized rats in Cathays (and Roath/Galabalfa) is an issue we must all deal with !!
Flushing your little kitchen caddie and your larger food/doorstep caddie is one way to reduce food smells/attractants; as you can see below a resident/postgrad is flushing the bins with hot water and washing up liquid. Such a practice will help reduce any food whiffs that may attract vermin.
Making sure no loose food waste exists in your garden is a must to ensure minimising the rats running around your house/garden.
There has been a vast reduction in the amount of ‘student ‘house parties’ in recent years. It may sound all fun and amazing yet the aftermath will cause a lot of problems for a few – and sadly it’s always the good students who get punished for something that wasn’t necessarily their fault.
House parties are infamous for losing control, with total strangers showing up, students and guests getting intimidated or harassed – or worse! In this neurotic socially charged era of media ridden sexual harassment and other negative attributes – it is little wonder there has been a marked reduction in house parties in recent times. Possibly the heavy fines of anti-social activity and noise complaints where students end up paying £1000’s in fines may have something to do with this …..
In Cathays, the students make as many noise complaints to the council as what the residents do. Yet it must be said the majority of student house parties have been undertaken very maturely; with students adhering to common sense rather than recklessness ……
Some guidance to try and maintain your event as a positive one!
- TELL YOUR NEIGHBOURS – especially the elderly residents!!! informing their neighbours that you are going to have a house party at least braces the resident a little. On quite a few occasions the house party planners have given a bottle of wine to the neighbours as a “thank you for tolerating us in advance” and the end result was the house party has caused no mischief or anti-social conditions.
- To allay a total bloodbath of mess, faeces, debris and the landlord taking your bonds off you – undertake some basic steps.
- Put some washing up liquid in the toilet cisterns – it will help flush away some of the mess and keep toilet/bathroom fresh for a few hours.
- LOCK YOUR BEDROOMS after you have put the house precious things (like your best plates etc.) in there and allow the communal spaces, bathrooms and garden areas to be the focus of the party. If your room is locked you can have #some# peace of mind your laptop, I-phone, personal belongings will not be compromised.
- Have bins set up for green bags bottles, black bags waste – it will help minimise (slightly) the amount of clean up you have to do the next day. Give your guest the opportunity to bin their stuff properly and not just smash glass everywhere.
- Plastic bottles and plastic cups – use them! NOT GLASS – as it is an accident waiting to happen. We are ‘anti-plastic’ as a growing social concern in the late 2010’s/early 2020’s yet just make sure you recycle it all afterwards.
- Same goes of paper plates instead of ceramic; save anyone going to the A&E for cut feet or knees from the falling of smashed crockery.
- Get cleaned up quickly – don’t just ram everything into white/red rubbish bags as you’ll run out at the end of the year! Recycle where you can!
- Make sure everything is in a fit state in the house – and don’t try to hide damage (even if you can’t work out which guest did it!!) as the nasty agencies will find the damage no matter what and take your bonds off you.
- Tell the landlord ASAP if damage has occurred to the house!
- Don’t argue with house mates over who’s fault it was – maybe never bother with a second house party.
This is not clever (or poorly used) reverse psychology – many students have had precious phones/laptops/tablets/bikes and other personal belongings damaged at house parties and even when you think your door is locked – there is always someone who thinks they can access your room.
PRACTISE CAUTION !!! you don’t want to make enemies of your neighbours – and by that we mean the other students too (as well as the families/residents/young professionals)
This is the last website on earth to offer dating advice – this is more a cry to all of you to practise
This is the last website on earth to offer dating advice – this is more a cry to all of you to practise professionalism in your relationships with fellow students, your academic staff, the invigilators who support you in exams and more importantly the residents who live alongside you all.
Students friendships and dating:
One This is awful how something so natural as (dare we say it) love and attraction etc has just become an emotional mindfield with campus rape being rife across many University campuses across Western cultures.
Many younger people have ideals about having an international course group, where they’ll meet people from all over the world and learn about their cultures etc. possibly even date them – yet clashes will occur within cultures (look at how bad the UN are at trying to maintain coherence between multiple countries!) so you are encouraged to practise professionalism as well as tolerance. It is extremely rare that racism has occurred in Cathays and we’d like to keep it that way.
The residents are an excellent mix of multiple races, three genders, multiple religions etc. and Cathays has a generally good community cohesion. We expect our students to conduct themselves accordingly – yet that is easier said than done when someone plays the gender card, race card, religion card etc. over one minor misunderstanding.
As it stands the cliques that exist per country will always be a consistency
Just as many graduates have discussed with us over the last 20-30 years – once they graduated they only hand a handful of true friends (if that)
When it comes to communal housing, there are difficulties if you have a mix of cultures from different countries as the issues of cooking, personal habits, sleeping habits to name abut a few will cause serious contentious issues in any communal house.
Even in an era of social media, many of our students are still horrendously isolated.
Yet one of the major flaws of this is also a strength,
When the Cardiff Uni Football team/society/club were suspended from the Union in 2017 – a very short sighted act which actually ended up punishing the local businesses who depend on the income from such societies!
Previously a few years before this …….
This was all down to one foolish presentation on ‘how to pick up girls – with a disgusting emphasis on looking for the vulnerable girls’
Yet when a rift amongst the students may have occurred, the young man or woman who wrote that beautiful piece in Gair Rhydd and quoting
“it’s the good guys who stand alone, as they choose not to partake in the whole objectification of women amongst the student population”
17 – Engagement with residents, faith groups and local businesses to help your student research/dissertation work!
Connect Cathays and Your Cathays have started to become informal gatekeepers, as students, postgrads and PhD students from the nearby universities (journalism depts., Geography and Planning dept, Psychology depts.) to help them engage with residents.
You can begin by going to venues such as:
- Cathays Library
- Cathays Sports and Social
- Cathays Cons Club
- Friends of Cathays Cemetery
Where you can build relationships with the residents and ask if they will partake in your surveys, research focus groups etc.
The issue is something many of us experienced in the 1980’s and 1990’s in student living of postal fraud where for example, once the students had left the HMO, the new tenants would find a piece of post with your name on it – then open up a catalogue in your name, order things and never pay it off. The debt is in your name – and for thousands of peoples all over the UK in a pre-ubiquitous digital age, debts would be ran up in your name and you’d have no idea about it until eventually the court summons & debt collectors would track you down!
Not only are sadly some students in fear of being physically or emotionally the victims of crime – the cyber element must be taken on board too.
When you move out – ensure EVERY single bit of post – banking, group memberships, university correspondence,
The end of an era …. – well; no not really – the first few years of being a professional
Wash the food caddies both small (internal) and large (external) and leave them for the next lot of students.
Deposit your unwanted clothes at the Clothes Charity Banks which are usually placed at top of Pentyrch Street by both our primary schools and our Heritage Library, amongst other locations!