Living with your housemates
Living with other students is a big part of UK student life. Whether you are staying in a hall of residence or a shared house, it's a great way to have fun and make lifelong friends.
But it can be frustrating, getting used to other people’s habits, noise and mess. Here are our top tips for a harmonious student house.
- Be considerate about housework
One of the biggest causes of arguments in a student house is cleaning and tidying. Some people love their house to be sparkling clean. Others think life is too short to be endlessly vacuuming.
Whatever your philosophy, consider the feelings of your housemates and tidy up after yourself. For cleaning communal areas, such as the bathroom and lounge, you could suggest a rota so everyone does their fair share.
- Respect each other’s need for peace and quiet
People can have very strong feelings about noise. If someone is trying to sleep or revise and there is too much noise, this can make them feel very stressed.
For harmony, it’s best to respect your housemates when they need peace and quiet, for example, make sure your music or the TV are not too loud … and whatever you do, don’t host a party the night before someone has an exam!
If your housemates are too noisy for you, try asking them in a friendly way to be quieter – they may not realise they are disturbing you. If they persist, you could discuss some ground rules with them, for example no loud music between 11pm and 8am.
If they don’t agree, speak to your student support office at your school, college or university. They may be able to help you find a solution.
- Don’t ‘hog’ the bathroom!
Hogging means not sharing. Everyone likes to spend time getting beautiful in the bathroom, but if you all have a lecture at the same time, this can create tension. In the mornings, you could check what time your housemates need to use the bathroom and make sure you all get in and out quickly so you don’t make others late.
- Speaking English
If you live with students who speak your language, it is great to chat in your mother tongue. But if some of your housemates don’t speak your language, they may feel isolated. Speaking in English when you are all together means that everyone can join in…. and it will be better for your language skills too!
- Budget together
In a shared house, you may have to pay for certain items for the house, such as toilet paper and household cleaning products. It might be worth having a house kitty for this. A kitty is a sum of money for communal items that everybody contributes equal amounts to.
If you have shared bills to pay – for example for gas, water or electricity – decide together how you will organise this. You could split the costs evenly and one person could volunteer to ensure the payment is made.
- Talk about it
Everyone wants a positive student experience. If something is upsetting you, it's worth sitting down with your housemates to talk about solutions in a friendly way. You may be living with people who have different opinions or habits to you, so try to understand their point of view.
- Have fun together
Finally, the best route to harmony is to have fun together! Why not cook meals, go to the pub or watch a film together? Or on someone’s birthday, have a celebration? Having fun will help you to bond.