For most people, going to university means a huge lifestyle change. People move cities, states, or even countries to attend uni. Relocating can be a huge step to take, which often means flying the coop for the first time. And it usually also means sharing a house or hallway with people you don’t really know. Such a radical change can be tricky, and takes some getting used to, but these sage words of advice from someone who has been through it all will hopefully help you survive the roommate experience too.
Refrain from refreshments
Food is possibly the most important thing in a uni student’s life. Our two minute noodles sustain us, potato gems comfort us, and occasionally we have the money to splash out on fancy yoghurt. Between textbooks that cost more than rent and accidental splurges on alcohol, it’s hard to find room in your budget for food, so when some of your precious food disappears it can be devastating. There is nothing worse than going to get some of your said fancy yoghurt from the fridge to discover that it has disappeared, along with your leftover pizza and half a carrot you were saving for lunch. I wouldn’t wish the feeling of lost food on my worst enemy, and neither should you. Don’t forget that a roommate deprived of food will then be severely hangry. And I am sure that is something that no one in your accommodation or share-house will want to be subjected to.
Living with people who are not your family members can be tricky. The standard of behaviour can be difficult to determine. Are pants mandatory at all times? Should you sleep with your bedroom door open or closed? How do you resolve these burning questions? Make your roommates your family! Have a family movie night, play Scrabble, tell them every awful detail of your love life. By building a little makeshift family within your house it makes life infinitely easier. Not only does it make it less painful to be away from your real family, but there will be nothing holding you back from having an in depth argument about whose turn it is to do the dishes. After all, family always forgives. However, it is important not to get too close. The only thing worse than sleeping with the enemy, is sleeping with the family. There is surely nothing more awkward than a walk of shame that only takes you two metres down the hall. Sleeping with your roommates is just generally bad practice. Don’t do it. Just don’t.
Mi Casa es Su Casa
If you’re living in a share house – having a place to call your own is exciting. Which means a house warming party is mandatory. You can have friends over whenever you want. Life will be like a non-stop party that you don’t ever want to end. Until the house is a mess and your friends won’t leave and you are drowning in work that needed to be done yesterday. Once the new house buzz wears off and you come crashing back to reality, you may find that real life is nowhere near as exciting as days of partying. They key is to find the balance between work and play. It’s great to have friends over on the weekend, but don’t forget that you also need to spend a few hours studying.
If you’re living on campus, don’t worry because the Uni will have your house warming covered. It’s called O Week and will be one of the best weeks of your life. Followed by weeks of recovering.
If you’re having a few friends over, you need to remember that as much as it is your home, it also belongs to your roommate, and if you’re geared up for a party, your roommate might be rushing to finish an essay before midnight. Just keep an open line of communication with your roommate – and maybe invite them to join you next time you stay up drinking cheap wine until the sun rises.
Sharing is caring
Living without parents or guardians or otherwise responsible people to watch over you can be hard. Sometimes you run out of peanut butter. Sometimes you forget to wash your socks. Sometimes you lose every single pen you own. This is where the helping hands of roommates come in, bearing jars of condiments, clean socks, and a multitude of writing instruments. In these times of need your roommate will (hopefully) be there for you. So return the favour! Let them borrow your scented highlighters. Make them soup when they are sick. Let them borrow your clean socks someday! Sharing things with your roommates bonds you together forever, and will help you live in harmony.
Getting ready to move into uni accommodation or a share-house in 2017? Stay tuned for Roommate Etiquette Part 2…