Wednesday, 24 April 2013

How to Survive in a Student House

(An example photograph to illustrate the state of our coffee table at a pre-drinks session last year)

I have lived in student accommodation for nearly two years now. Last year I was put into a house with six people I had never met before, this year I am thankfully living with my friends (there are now eight of us). However I have learnt a lot from both of these situations about how to survive living with a big group of people with whom you may not always see eye to eye. I'm not trying to say I'm the perfect, ideal housemate (I don't like sharing and I can be incredibly bossy), but I have learnt so much from my two years at Uni and I see so many people complaining about things that can be so easily remedied, so here goes...

1. Be tolerant
Don't try to tell me you can't learn to be tolerant. You definitely can. Last year I was the girl leaving passive aggressive notes to the people using my cutlery and pinching my milk, but I've learnt now that some people are just difficult to live with, and it's not their fault.*

If you bought a six-pack of eggs yesterday and now only two are left, don't kick off, remember someone might have just got a bit confused. Or maybe they were really hungover and desperately needed a fried egg toastie! Make a joke out of it, let it go, or just steal their eggs next time they have some, karma keeps the world spinning.

Some people just won't meet up to your 'living' standards. Our house doesn't recycle (sorry planet) and it drives me mad, but I've given up going on at everyone about it because I'd rather just keep the peace. I can't stand it when people complain about the little things. Nobody's perfect! If something really bothers you, mention it casually to the culprit and try to sort it out, they probably don't realise it's such a big deal. This leads on to my next point...

2. Don't bitch
If someone in the house is irritating you, never ever bitch about them to a fellow housemate. If you bitch about your housemates TO your housemates, they're just going to think you're a bitch. Simple really, and nobody wants to live with a bitch. On top of this, there's always the risk that they might hear you and get hurt.

Try to encourage some positivity into your house instead, and if you have to complain about someone, try not to say anything you wouldn't say to their face. "OMG I heard Jim and Betty having sex really loud in their room last night, they're so inconsiderate, how gross" isn't really going to help anyone, a bit of casual banter is a much more effective means of communication, "good night last night Jim? *wink wink*" might be a better way of approaching the issue without making too much of a fuss.

3. Don't be a martyr
"Ergh I just had to go out and buy loo roll for like the fiftieth time this year, why am I the only one who buys any?!" (This has been me in the past and so I apologise if any of my housemates read this!) First of all, if you're the only person who ever buys it, maybe other people genuinely don't think about it and therefore never think to buy any. Some people are actually that daft, trust me. When I felt I had fulfilled my toilet roll-buying duties for the year, I bought some just for myself and hid it so nobody else could use it. Kinda petty but it worked!

Don't be the person who moans and whines about doing household jobs because 'nobody else will'. If you have made the conscious decision to clean the kitchen/bathroom then you have to deal with it. Maybe everyone else likes living in mess and you're ruining it for them!

4. Be respectful
Don't use other people's shelves in the fridge without permission, NEVER steal bacon (I don't like bacon but I've seen it happen, people get quite annoyed), don't hog the washing machine/tumble dryer/shower and be quiet when you know everyone else is hungover/sleeping/revising. It sounds simple but there's almost always one...

5. Lower your expectations, just a little bit
Your student house/flat is very rarely going to be clean, tidy, organised, warm enough etc. As a student you have to just sigh and accept that this is what you signed up for. The same goes for the people in it, you can't expect everyone to live up to your standards of cleanliness, tidiness and behaviour, unfortunately. I guess this links with my first point, and it also carries on into my last...

6. Remember it's not forever
This works both ways. On the one hand you need to make the most of your time living in student housing because soon you'll have to be a grown up paying council tax and starting a career. On the other hand if things really annoy you about your living situation, you can try to get by on the fact that eventually you'll have your own house which you can operate by your own rules. Or that's the dream anyway!

My bedroom is cramped with minimal storage and a tiny desk, not really ideal for studying and it makes it really awkward to clean, but if I get a bit stressed about it I can just sit back and look on Pinterest at interior design inspiration and dream about when I move out of my scummy student house into my own lovely, clean flat.

I hope this has benefitted some of you and we can try to all be more positive and tolerant and forgiving and all love each other and hold hands and sing *hippie hugs*. Have any of you got any student house-related horror stories or advice to share?

*I have had to exercise a lot of restraint while writing this to not use real people as examples or go off on a tangent and rant about the things my housemates do that annoy me. Now try again to tell me you can't learn tolerance ;)


  1. This is great! I'm going to uni (hopefully) next year and this is some great advice! Thank you :) xxx

    1. Great I'm glad you found it helpful! Good luck with your Uni application :) xx