After the long-awaited confirmation email from the University’s accommodation services (or your landlord), it’s normal to be experiencing a mixture of emotions as you move away from home. I’ve put together a quick guide to living in student accommodation, to help you as you settle into your new home.
#1 Be yourself
It is perfectly acceptable to choose a night-in watching ‘Bake Off’ over a drink or two in the city centre. You will be more likely to find friends by being open and honest about who you are and what you enjoy.
#2 Be open minded
You are likely to meet a wide variety of individuals at Uni from all walks of life. Make an effort to show interest in your flatmates and their hobbies as you never know what sort of friendships you will form!
#3 Negotiation is key
With a number of students living under one roof, there are bound to be times when tensions run high and opinions differ, but confrontation is rarely the answer. Be diplomatic in your approach to conflicting views and try to reach a compromise which satisfies all parties.
#4 Share and be fair
It is inevitable that you will run out of something at some point. A great perk of living with others is that you can borrow an item instead of heading out for a late-night trip to the corner shop. However, it’s important to not exploit your flat mate’s kindness and ensure that you are lending as much as you are borrowing.
#5 Get to know your neighbouring residents and be alert
At first it might seem like there are so many faces coming into and out of your building, but you will quickly begin to recognise people.
Being security aware when entering and leaving your building is good practice. Staff that come into your flat to clean, carry out repairs or deal with a security issue should always be carrying an ID badge to identify themselves. If you are suspicious of someone loitering around the accommodation, tell a member of staff immediately.
#6 Ensure you have packed properly
Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can survive the year eating pot noodles and living in the same pair of jeans. Take a look at ‘The Student Packing List’ blog for a comprehensive list of what to pack for University.
#7 Be considerate
Having communal facilities can be problematic when everyone wants to utilise them at the same time. It’s important that you think of others when using a shared facility and don’t spend 2 hours in the shower or hog the oven all evening.
As obvious as it sounds, remember to ask before using someone else’s belongings and put them back once you have finished with them. It’s also important to not shout and slam doors or cupboards if you are arriving home late or leaving early..
#8 Don’t panic if your flatmates aren’t your best friends
Not everyone bonds with their flatmates, and the law of averages determines that you won’t want to be friends with everyone you meet. There are thousands of other opportunities to make friends outside you flat at University, so don’t worry if you aren’t best friends with your hall.
However, depending on your living arrangements, as things are at the minute it could be that your flatmates are your household bubble. So more than ever it’s important to be civil and embrace any differences rather than using them as a reason for hostility and disputes. Even if first appearances make you think you won’t get on – you just never know!
#9 Keep on top of your chores
Cooking, cleaning, and laundry aren’t the most exciting tasks, but they are essential to University living.
Everyone is likely to have a different approach to cleanliness, especially washing up. Create a cleaning rota for the communal areas in your flat and agree to do your own washing up in order to keep things spick and span.
Batch cooking is a great way to ensure you always have nutritious food ready to eat. I would also always suggest trying to eat with others, even if you are cooking separately, to encourage a social household from the start.
Washing your clothes can be an expensive ordeal, especially on a student budget. The key to making it as cheap as possible is to wash larger loads at one time, rather than lots of half-loads. Luckily, the University washing machines and dryers are often industrial size. Doing laundry with a friend can also reduce the cost and make it a little less tedious.
#10 Coordinate on group shopping items
It’s completely unnecessary to have 4 washing up detergents and copious amounts of cleaning products within the flat. Banding together to buy food and other household essentials can be a money-saver and a great bonding experience.
#11 Customise your space
No one wants to live in a University room that is lifeless and bland. Make sure you read ‘There’s nothing a string of fairy lights can’t fix’ for ideas on how to inject some life into your room on a student budget.
#12 Ask for help
If you are struggling to settle into your accommodation or are feeling uncomfortable with your living arrangements then visit the Student Support page on the University’s website to source some help or if you’re in University Halls talk to your Res Life advisor.
University can be an exciting experience but it’s normal for there to be times when you feel like you don’t belong there. Chances are there will be someone else in your flat feeling the same way. Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns, they may need to talk about it as much as you do.