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5 ways to be the perfect student housemate
It’s no secret that this might be the very first time you’ve ever had to share some personal space. It might also be the very first time you have had to cook a meal for yourself, or even clean up after yourself. That is all about to change. University brings along many fantastic new experiences – but the prospect of suddenly living with a bunch of other students you have never met can sometimes feel daunting and a bit stressful. The good news is, it really doesn’t have to be. With these simple guidelines you will pick up some tips and tricks that will not only help you be the perfect student housemate, but they might even help make you make some lifelong friends along the way.
It’s good to talk
Communication is key to any harmonious shared living experience and it is something that is always best done in person, rather than in writing. Honesty and openness set out right from the get go will make a real difference to household relations going forwards. Gather your new housemates together early on to decide on your ground rules. Discuss amongst you what is considered acceptable behaviour, and what isn’t. Try and make an early agreement on any future situations that may arise, such as guests staying over, noise levels, romantic company and bathroom usage. Make sure you have agreement so that it does not become a divisive experience – and be prepared to compromise yourself. You might think about setting up a house kitty from which you can fund shared items such as toilet rolls, cleaning equipment and tea or coffee. This avoids anyone feeling like they are paying an unfair share towards group items. If you ever do experience household problems going forwards, it’s important they are addressed early on and in a non-confrontational manner. This approach avoids an unnecessary build-up of tension that can actually affect the whole household. You also might want to set up a regular monthly house meeting where any issues can be openly and respectfully discussed.
Get your roster on
There’s actually nothing worse than coming home to a dirty kitchen that has a week’s worth of grime around the sink, or waking up to another empty toilet roll in the bathroom. Top tip for all those wanna-be perfect housemates: organise an agreed cleaning schedule upfront and early on. This is a real lifesaver and so easily done. Simply rotate through the general tasks and allocate each housemate a role. All you have to do now is put it somewhere everyone can see and leave it up to individuals to fulfil against their weekly duties (or organise switching tasks around if their timetable does not suit). By detailing this out for everyone to see, it strips out any emotion and negativity that could potentially arise otherwise.
Thinking about others is a huge part of housemate-ship. When you move in with a new set of people, it is the ideal opportunity to develop consideration and kindness for others and to think beyond yourself and your own personal needs. It doesn’t just apply to general household tasks such as cleaning up, or observing agreed house rules. It’s about learning how to a co-exist alongside others, to respect privacy and to put other people’s needs ahead of your own. Consideration feeds into every aspect of house sharing – from cleaning and cooking tasks through to habits and behaviours. Everyone is different and will have a different idea about how to live their life. Respect individuality, be prepared to share and treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself. You can’t go wrong.
Keep the noise down
One of the benefits of University life is that you have entire independence over your schedule – and you will soon find that everyone operates differently. One man’s early bird is another man’s night owl and you will certainly come across this variation amongst your roommates. Where daytime studying works for one, there is always someone else that needs the dark of night to truly come alive. So no matter the time of day, it’s always a good idea to put yourself in your roommate’s shoes and be mindful of your noise levels at home. Think twice before you launch into that music session or start up the juicer, as there just may be someone nearby quietly trying to catch up on their zeds. It’s a sure fire way to avoid those dark looks over the weekly kitty collection.
Hang out together
Spending quality time together can make a real difference to how you all operate as a household. It doesn’t have to be an organised event, it might simply be a conversation across the dinner table or a shared anecdote over a study module. These small interactions create a bond and draw you closer together. As a group it is highly likely there will be a range of different interests, so bringing the household together for a mutual experience such as a meal or a movie can be a great way to turn your house into a home. It’s a good idea to set up a Whatsapp group for fast and easy communication about upcoming group activities such as themed mealtimes, music trivia or house movie nights. You’ll forge much deeper relationships that will positively impact the household dynamic in a very short space of time.