Today is A-level results day and so teenagers who are planning to head off to uni in the autumn are confirming just where they’ll be living for the foreseeable future.
Our guest blogger Kaitlyn completed her first year of university this summer. She spent the academic year living in halls with nine other students, all of whom were strangers when they moved in.
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“It’s scary moving in with strangers. You’re all from different places and backgrounds. You have no idea what the dynamic will be, or whether you’ll get on with your housemates at all.
“Remember that the same thoughts are going through everyone’s heads. Everyone is equal parts excited and anxious to be living away from home for the first time.
“My plan was to be as gregarious and likeable as possible. If I could be popular with all my housemates I reckoned it would be a smooth ride through to the second year. And I was (mostly) right! So here are my tips on being the most popular housemate in your student house share.”
Tip 1: Food is good for the soul
On our second evening in halls I knocked up a huge pan of chilli con carne and all ten of us sat down to eat together. It transpired that I was the only person in the house who could rustle up anything more advanced than beans on toast. Not only were my housemates hugely grateful for the meal, I became the go-to-gal when it came to culinary inspiration, cooking tips, and the loan of cookery books.
You have several weeks of down time between results day and move-in day. Use this time to learn how to cook a few basic but impressive meals. Shepherd’s pie, risotto and spag bol are sure-fire winners.
Tip 2: TV time
It’s the biggest cliché going: students gather around the TV for marathons of Countdown, Pointless and Hollyoaks. But it’s also pretty fun! Only three of us had TVs in our room, which meant that I nearly always had company when the TV was on. It can be a real giggle to watch trashy TV with friends, and great for bonding too. The only trouble is trying to get rid of them when you’ve got work to do.
Tip 3: Piles of washing up – don’t be the culprit!
Trust me – the washing up will pile up and there’s almost nothing you can do about it. My advice? Try and be as relaxed about it as you can. After all, it’s inevitable. A friendly word in the ear of those leaving their pans to fester on the side, or a gentle bit of ribbing, tends to be more effective than throwing a strop.
And try not to be the culprit. It quickly becomes obvious who does the washing up and who doesn’t. If you don’t pull your weight, you’re sure to wind people up.
Tip 4: Passive aggressive notes are the worst!
Student houses can be a pressure pot, and some people will do anything to avoid confrontation. But leaving irritable notes around the place often adds to the tension, rather than relieving it. A note is easier to ignore than a real conversation too.
If you think someone’s been stealing your butter, or the person in the room next door isn’t pulling their weight when the shower needs a clean, sit them down with a beer and speak to them about it.
Tip 5: NEVER slam your door.
My pet peev when living in halls was something I never anticipated – slamming doors. Due to fire safety restrictions, all the doors in our house were heavy with sprung hinges so they were forever slamming with a loud BANG! Be a good housemate – learn to close your door as quietly as possible.