We can help you with your flatmates, settling into your new house, and how to navigate your first week but we can't help you when your mum sits down and starts chatting to your new flatmate about your lactose intolerance. You're on your own there, sorry...
1. Break the ice with your flatmates
Everyone is new and in the same situation as you, so there’s no need to be afraid. Take some time to sit down together and introduce yourselves. You’re going to be living together all year, so it’s important to feel comfortable with each other.
2. Set up a rota
Unless you’re one of these posh folk with in-house catering and staff, you’ll all have to muck in with chores like washing up and taking the bins out! Sort out a rota with your flatmates and take turns to do jobs, otherwise, one person will end up doing more work than they should.
3. Be honest with your flatmates
If you have an issue like a disability or a medical condition that affects your way of living, don’t be afraid to tell your flatmates. It’s important that they know how to make things comfortable for you, otherwise, it can lead to unnecessary problems. Believe me, they will understand.
4. It’s ok to get help if there’s a major problem
Choosing halls is a lottery and sometimes, people just don’t get along. If you ever feel uncomfortable with anyone or unhappy with your circumstances, ask for help immediately. The staff will have been trained to deal with difficult situations; they can help you to resolve your problems or move you to a new flat if possible. You’re paying for your accommodation so they won’t abandon you!
5. Get to know the staff
Your halls will have staff and security on hand to help. Learn the name and address of who to contact if there’s a problem. Become familiar with their faces and be friendly. Their job is to make you feel safe and welcome, so don’t be shy!
6. Know your student reps
Most halls will have student reps who work for the student union on your behalf. Go to them if you feel that the staff aren’t helping, or if you just feel more confident speaking to someone your own age.
7. It’s ok to make mistakes while working things out
For most of you, it will be your first time living alone without servants (aka Mum and Dad) to help you cook and clean. Maybe you set fire to the toaster the first time you used it, or you didn’t separate your white laundry from your coloured laundry and it turned bright pink. Whatever; we’ve all made silly mistakes and learnt from them – it’s part of this thing called adulting!
8. Look out for activities
If you’re feeling lonely, staying in your room sort-of watching Netflix isn’t going to help. Most halls will run activities like a cooking night or movie night, and it’s worth going to them, especially if you’re new or you’ve struggled to make friends so far. There’s a whole building of new people to meet, and you never know if you might find something that you like!
9. Always be polite and respectful
Clean up after yourselves; don’t ignore your flatmates; hold the door open for others; don’t hog the lift; don’t be noisy late at night. A lot of people have got to live together and you don’t want to be the person that ruin’s everyone else’s experience.
10. Buy a drainer!
Ok, this is a weird one, but having a drainer for your dishes will make things so much more organised and your sink area easy to tidy up. Wash, drain and go, instead of arguing over a pile of dirty plates!
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