What I learned is that you have to know what you want out of a place before going into it. We knew what we needed (three bedrooms, a kitchen, allows a cat, etc), but decided to also make a list of things we would like. It really helped because when we found our (soon to be) home, we knew it was perfect.
I did not expect to find an inexpensive, local house as quickly as we did. It was literally the first place we went and saw. It's one bus ride away, near several grocery stores and is so beautiful. We're going to be living in a house that has a outdoor breakfast nook, a back wooden deck, three bedrooms, one bath, a kitchen, a dining room, a living room and plenty of storage space.
Of course, it's not perfect (although I think it is), only one of the (rather small) bedrooms has a closet and we need to hang a door for one of the rooms, but these things seem trivial next to the problems we saw at other places.
One of the townhouses we went to see required that we show proof of $62,000 annual income between the three of us. We almost died laughing. We're students; we're not going to be making that kind of money for quite a while.
Now that I know I have a place for me here for the summer, I'm really excited to get a summer job, decorate our house and have a great summer with my friends. The school year is coming to a close, which is hard to believe that it went by so fast. I still have a ton of work to do every night, but I've become conscious of summer break sitting just around the corner.