Gross or gift? How to Live With Multiple People

Moving to university is a strange time for most. Whether you’re fresh from school, or had several years out, most people will have only lived with their families. So how do we adapt to living with six or seven other people?

I’ll split my answer to that into my incredibly original ABC sections; Attitude, Behaviour and Community.

 

Attitude

The best thing I can recommend is to just go for it. Whether you’re slightly socially awkward, a nocturnal hardcore gamer, a loud and proud party animal, or a mixture of the above, it doesn’t matter. What matters is you get yourself out there and meet your flatmates. These are the ‘friendly faces’ you will be seeing a lot of for a year so it’s best you get familiar with them!

You don’t have to be best friends with them (Hell, I barely spoke with half of mine by the time I moved out) but what’s important is that you feel comfortable enough to go and make food freely or even so that you don’t mind that awkward hungover walk to the kitchen in your secret Pokémon pjs for toast and tea in the morning…yes, I’m talking from experience!

 

Behaviour

I wanted to title this section as ‘Respect’ but being slightly OCD, ARC doesn’t really fit as nicely as ABC in my head! This section considers several parts of university life, from how not to leave your dishes to making sure you’re not enthusiastically ‘Netflix and Chilling’ at 2am the morning before an exam.

I’ll be the first to admit that I was a nightmare housemate for the first few months. I’m used to quite an independent working lifestyle back home but still had my mum washing my dishes and cleaning my clothes for me. If you ever bump into an ex-flatmate of mine, I’m sure they’ll let you know of the time I left a small bowl of Cocopops in my room for so long that the mold grew thick enough to weld the spoon to the bowl and make me throw the whole thing away. Be smart, don’t be a Marcus! Try your best to wash up after yourself, clean dishes, surfaces or ovens that you use. I doubt you want to go to make food and find other people have left overly burnt pasta sauce stuck all over the oven you want to use. I know it’s sometimes difficult to keep on top of it all, what with studying, sports, societies and socialising. I mean, who really has time to run a bowl of warm water and wash a plate right?

The second thing I mentioned was respecting your flat mates. Everyone else has lectures just like you, and more likely than not they have at least one of the deadly 9ams. Be mindful of this. Get to know each other’s time tables and don’t come in banging on everyone’s door at 3am to tell them about your adventures in Yokos a few hours before they’re up for their lectures. Every student loves a good night out (well as good as Aberystwyth can offer) but just keep in mind things such as exams and 9ams. You may not fancy a lovely 10 hour sleep before an ethics exam, but I bet one of your house mates does.

 

 

Community

Community! Here at Aberystwyth, we’re quite lucky in as much as we get decent storage space in the kitchens. But fridges and freezers fill up fast. As stated before, get to know your house mates, agree to take it in turns to buy milk or bread or eggs. Little things that everyone uses. Bread for example, doesn’t have the longest shelf life around and if you all buy a whole loaf each I can assure you that by the end of the week the bin will contain enough moldy bread to at least make one whole loaf. This is of course situational and depends on how you get on with your flat, but I definitely recommend giving it a go!

Finally, socialising! As time goes on you’ll all find your own friendship groups: who you go out for a drink with, or a club you go to socials with. But from time to time, try and have a flat event. Whether that be a big house party or just a few pre-drinks with each other, it’s important to keep those connections. Drinking games are great ice breakers and useful for greasing the social wheels. I personally recommend the drinking app ‘Piccolo’ but you’ll find your own favourites. As well as drinking, there is of course food? You may not be back home but who says you can’t still make a Christmas dinner together as a flat! Maybe agree that once a month someone cooks a meal for everyone (not Cocopops…)? Things like that can keep you all closer and help you feel less isolated in your own little prison cell of a bedroom!

Well there we have it. My say on student living: I hope it helps a few of you out as it can be so daunting moving away from home for the first time. Stick together, and you will have some of the best experiences of your life here!

 

Pikachu: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-36414978

Bowl of Cocopops: https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/food-and-drink/my-coco-pop-addiction-serves-as-a-warning-that-my-mental-health-might-need-attention-1.2872048

Ring of People: https://www.impactengine.com/operate-from-purpose