When you’ve moved out of halls after your first year at university you’ll be sure to look back at it with a curious mixture of nostalgia and utter relief. If you’re lucky, halls can provide a pre-packaged group of friends that will provide a much-needed support network when you’ve come back from a bad seminar or got a lower mark in an essay than you’d hoped. However, being thrust together with a group of equally clueless and nervous strangers makes for a very intense environment. Make sure you follow these simple rules so you don’t become a nightmare housemate:
Keep it Down
There’s a time and a place to be blaring out dubstep/practicing your clarinet/singing along to the latest episode of Glee. You would have thought it would be obvious that 3.30am is not this time. However, in first year especially, people often get caught up in the flurry of late nights and parties and completely forget any notions of time. Remember that your flatmates will have very different schedules so just because you don’t have to get up at 8am doesn’t mean that your neighbour doesn’t.
Chances are that your flatmates will be an eclectic bunch of different personalities, backgrounds and viewpoints. Revel in the opportunity to meet people so different from those back home. However, always remember to respect your flatmates’ different views. If you have conservative neighbours, it’s probably best not to bring back a group of moshers from a night out for a drug and debauchery-fuelled after party (although we clearly wouldn’t suggest you do this anyway). You don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable in their own home. Similarly, it’s polite to ask people beforehand whether they mind someone staying over for a few days. Clinger boyfriends/girlfriends need not apply.
Don’t Be Messy
People have very different ideas of what is an acceptable level of filth. When you’re living in your own place, you very quickly come to realise why your mum got so angry when you left dirty plates in your room all those years ago. Whilst establishing cleaning rules might seem a little dull and parent-y, it will save a lot of resentment building up over the long term.
Thou Shalt not Steal
So we all know that being a student isn’t going to be the most flush time of our lives (hopefully!). However, this is no excuse for nicking other people’s food. A little milk for tea is fine but happily munching on their lovingly prepared packed lunch for the next day isn’t so acceptable. In addition, don’t be stingy with buying communal things like washing up liquid. After all, a couple of pounds is hardly going to make a huge dent in your bank account and no one wants to get a reputation for being a scrooge.
Don’t Be a Stranger
There always seems to be the token ghost flatmate who you never see. The only sign of life from inside their room is an occasional chortle along to an episode of Futurama . Don’t be this housemate. You don’t have to be best buds with your halls neighbours but it makes the experience a lot more pleasant for everyone if you make a bit of an effort. Just saying ‘hey’ and asking people how their day has been if you bump into them in the kitchen makes a huge difference to the overall environment of the accommodation.
Jess Astbury writes for the Scape Living blog, who provide some of the best student accommodation in London.