Moving in with a completely new group of people is probably one of the most daunting parts of coming to university. You might be worried about if you’ll click with your new flatmates, how chores will be divided, or maybe you’re just excited to dive in and get to know everyone!
Every group of flatmates will vary in terms of dynamics. Some groups spend lots of time together whereas some see each other less often, spending more time with friends outside the flat, and some flats are livelier than others. When you applied for accommodation you will have written a little about yourself to help the accommodation team put together similar groups. Whilst there is no guarantee this will work for your flat, it’s good to know that you will probably find things in common with your new flatmates!
Last year I lived in Tocil (I’ve also written a blog post reviewing Tocil which might be helpful if you’ll be living there) with 11 others. As someone who often likes to have their own space, living with so many people was sometimes challenging but overall I really enjoyed the experience and lived with a great group. I felt like we were matched really well and some of us will be living together next year! Although many of us were similar in terms of personality, we were all studying different courses and lots of us were from different countries, religions and backgrounds which was an amazing experience – living in halls gives you a chance to meet people you might not have met at home and over the year I learnt so many new things about different cultures, places and the subjects we were studying.
Whilst it isn’t always easy to live with a group of new people, especially when you’ve got studying to do and a new routine to adjust to, there are definitely things you can do to make settling in easier and get the best out of your experience in halls.
Make a group chat
Setting up a WhatsApp or Facebook group chat will make it much easier to contact each other and feel connected. It’s great for group announcements, reminders and making plans with your flatmates, but it’s also good to know where each other are/be able to contact the group in case you need each other (e.g. on a night out or if you forget your key!).
Spend time together
The best way to bond with your flatmates is to spend time relaxing together. In our flat we often sat together and chatted in the kitchen as well as playing video games, watching TV and having meals together – we had a Hanukkah meal, a Mexican night, and made a huge Christmas dinner! You’re all going through the same experience of leaving home and adapting to an unfamiliar lifestyle so it’s good to just chill out together and have fun.
Take time for yourself
Being around so many people can feel intense at times so it’s important that you get enough time to yourself, whether that be spending time in your room, going for a walk or taking a book to Curiositea. It’s also great to give yourself a break by getting out of the flat – spending too much time there, especially in Term 3 when everyone’s revising for exams, will make you feel more stressed!
Make a bin rota
Setting up a bin rota as soon as you’ve settled in will help to establish a sense of shared responsibility in the kitchen, stopping the same person from always taking the bin out. Plus, it means you’ll only have to worry about it every now and then when it’s your turn.
Addressing issues in the flat: be open and honest
If someone’s actions are frustrating you, it’s much better to speak to the person about it directly. Addressing problems sooner rather than later is also much easier – if you keep putting it off you are likely to become more aggravated over time as things build up. Occasionally you might fall out with a flatmate or you might just not click with someone – you’re unlikely to be great friends with everyone all the time! This said, it’s good to still say hi in the corridor and good morning in the kitchen as this helps ease tension in the flat and lets you focus your energy on enjoying First Year.
3 top things to remember about living with flatmates…
1. Good communication is the key to a happy flat.
2. Balancing your time between being in the flat/with flatmates and being outside the flat will help you keep any domestic issues in perspective and enjoy time spent in your accommodation.
3. Dynamics and groups of friends within the flat shift over the year. If you feel like small groups are forming or if you feel left out towards the start of the year, remember that as time goes on it’s likely that this will change – people gel differently as they spend more time together.
I hope you have a great experience living on campus, but if you have any problems there are people there to support you such as your residential tutor who will live in your accommodation. I made amazing friends and lots of my best First Year memories in my flat and I hope you do too!