Heading to University Soon? Here's How to Live with Strangers!

AFS Team·29 August 2018·6 min read
Heading to University Soon? Here's How to Live with Strangers!
By Elizabeth Whittingham

Starting university soon? A little worried about living with brand new people?

Try not to worry! Everyone is in the same boat at university and there is plenty to do in order to make the whole experience run smoothly!

Here are our top ten crucial pieces of advice for living with strangers at university- it’s not as scary as it sounds!

Tip number one: remember that everyone is in the same boat!

Trust me, everyone is in the same position as you- they’ll also be experiencing a heady mix of both terror and overwhelming excitement.

Never think that your new roommates have everything together, they’ll probably just be a lot better at handling it than you are.

Tip number two: buy your own mugs!

Avoiding conflicts really is the main aim of living with new people.

Make sure that you bring your own utensils, plates, bowls and anything that you will need for the kitchen to avoid using other flat mate’s belongings- if you don’t ask, it doesn’t really end well.

If someone has a kitchen appliance you like the look of, such as a coffee maker or a toastie machine, don’t just use it. Always ask first and wash up everything when you’re done.

Also, make sure that you have your own mug stored in your bedroom to avoid hoarding anyone else’s- it doesn’t really make for a good introduction.

Tip number three: leave your bedroom door open

Control the nerves by leaving your door open as often as you can to encourage people to pop in and say ‘hi’.

Not only is it a great way to make new friends, it’s also perfect for opening up your boundaries and dragging yourself out of your comfort zone, you room may soon turn into the social space to be which can be really refreshing.

In addition to this, knowing that people are waiting for you to return from university, and will be happy to chat when you do, can be a great confidence boost.

Tip number four: get knocking!

Living with strangers can be an interesting experience at first- it can also often be filled with nerves, confusion and the worry that you might be disturbing someone by heading to their room.

Try your very best to beat those nerves by chatting to as many people as you can.

You do not want to be the person who is afraid to go and make a cup of tea because your flat mates are in the kitchen- that’s just silly!

Work on getting to know people as soon as you can to make the whole process run as smooth as it can.

Tip number five: Put time aside for a night as a flat

Flat bonding time is super important, put aside time to enjoy as a flat by having a movie night on one day of the week. You could also cook meals together, chain a few box sets or even go to the pub together. Focusing on your flat mates can really help to ease nerves and tension.

Tip number six: introduce your flat mates to other friends

Act quickly and introduce your flat mates to your friendship group as soon as possible. This way, an impromptu friend visit won’t be too much of a shock as your flat will already know your pals. Either way, it’s always good to let your flat mates know that your friends are visiting, especially if you live in a super small property.

Tip number seven: Keep the communal cooking space clean and tidy

Cooking up some good food is when you’re going to be spending the most time with your pals.

Keep this activity running by making sure that the communal kitchen area is kept nice and tidy, you don’t want students running in and out of the kitchen and not socialising with anybody because the it's an absolute state, super dirty and really not a nice place to be.

Tip number eight: Respect their study habits

Respect each other’s study habits.

Although it can be super frustrating at times if you really want to head on a night out but the vast majority of your friends have deadlines, it’s important that you respect this by not making noise.

Causing noise or even (god forbid) hosting a party during exam season is honestly the worst thing that you could possibly do- avoid it at all costs!

Treat others how you would like to be treated, hopefully by keeping quiet during exam season for them, they’ll hopefully do the same for you!

Tip number nine: Respect their privacy

Just as you would like some time to yourself, allow your flatmates their own space and respect their privacy. If you knock on their door, knowing they are in, and receive no reply, take it as they are either napping or are just having some time to themselves, try not to get too offended- everyone has those days.

If you respect people’s personal space, they’ll respect yours too!

Tip number 10: Recognise that you might not be best friends

Just because you live with them, this does not mean that you have to be the best of friends. Although it’s always a nice addition to the student halls experience if you really get on with your new flat mates, if you just don’t click- it’s nothing to be worried about. As long as you stay calm, kind and polite then things should run smoothly, although you can contact the landlord if any issues do arise!

Also, side note: you are not obligated to hang out with each other all of the time.

Think about it, you have only just met your roommates, you do live with them, yet if opportunities arise that you would like to take, don’t feel that you are neglecting your roommates to go and do them.

Feeling guilty really sucks, so do not let yourself fall into that trap.