Well, the break's over, so I've been back to work today. Not the most… - John C. Kirk
Jan. 5th, 2004
Well, the break's over, so I've been back to work today. Not the most productive day I've ever had (I've got used to sleeping until 1pm, so I was a bit bleary-eyed this morning), but I should be back in the routine now.
My main piece of news - I've decided to buy a flat. I'm just in the preliminary stages at the moment, but all advice from people who've been through this before is welcome. The main issue here is that my credit rating is currently pretty good, but will get worse if I do a PhD, or if I get a lower paid research job. In particular, I've noticed that renting agencies generally want a parental guarantee for PhD students (even if you've got proof of grant), which would be problematic for me... So, I think it makes sense to take advantage of my current situation to get a mortgage, then I only have to worry about making the payments later (the equivalent of rent). Another advantage is that I'll have more control, e.g. I can put up shelves or get a pet without needing the landlord's permission.
The main potential downside here is that if I buy a flat round here, I'm limiting myself to job/PhD opportunities in this region; it wouldn't really be practical to commute to Manchester... It's also a bit imposing, since it's quite a large commitment, so I won't be out of debt any time soon (i.e. within the next 25 years). However, I think my PhD opportunities are theoretical at best. I'm currently planning to move to Crawley, since that's within my price range (c. £100,000), and within reach of London and Brighton. Brighton is significant since that's where the University of Sussex is, who do research into Artificial Life. And I think there are enough job opportunities in London to keep me gainfully employed over the next few years, even if I leave PMSI.
I'm looking for a 1 bedroom flat (I've lived in a studio before, and it's not something I'm keen to repeat), and it will hopefully be character building to live on my own for a while. I figure that I'll probably do the move itself sometime around April/May, which will get it out of the way before I have to focus on my project intensively. It also means that I should have my own place by the time I'm 30 (in July), which I think counts as a life achievement. Stay tuned for further updates...