Careers Advice Blog

How to decide who to live with at university

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Finding people to live with should be as easy as looking round your flat, right? Wrong.

Although most flatmates will inevitably continue to live together in second year, this can be a major screw-up. After all, what happens when there is no cleaning lady? No spacious fridges? And most importantly, what happens when you have to share a bathroom? (Sharing a halls bathroom is not the same. You have cleaners.)

Second year, second thoughts

Suddenly someone’s somewhat endearing habit of leaving their pans unwashed for days can become vomit-inducing. And the token clean freak (there’s always one) has to toe the line between helpful and passive-aggressiveness that makes the Cold War look like a playground scuffle.

One thing you can do to avoid the battleground of the kitchen is pay attention to who you’re living with. What does their room look like? Is it a full-on ‘floordrobe’ or more of a Stepford Wives situation? Measure it against your own and decide. Opposites do not attract.

Wait it out

Try and wait until at least the first reading week before you decide. Everyone’s desperate for friends, and it can be hard to gauge people for what they’re really like. Quirks can quickly become irritating, and it’ll only get worse from there. If you think you’d regret your choice before the year is out, then back away. It is tough enough having to grow up when you actually like the people you live with. Loathing them makes it feel Sisyphean.

Then talk it out

Just talk to everyone, and do it sober. If you can talk for hours without getting bored, chances are you’ll work through anything. If not, then problems will only get worse and worse. Don’t be afraid to look outside of your flat – it’s rare that you’ll have a BFFL two doors away. Alternatively, act fast and find a big house. It’ll be easier to cope with everyone that way, and you’ll naturally grow close to someone.

Third time lucky

I’m sorry to say it, but you’ll probably only live with people you like in third year. After all, you’ve got two months – in what world can you make a friend that quickly?

I know people who have got lucky and will live together for the rest of their degrees. But I also know people who couldn’t wait to get into a different house. Ultimately, you’ll probably just have to shrug and take the chance – what’s the worst that can happen? (Barring something extreme, like a civil house war. With pillows.)

Do you have any more tips on how to decide who to live with at university? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: Dan Goodwin / Flickr

Warwick Editor for Career Camels and Deputy Comment Editor for The Boar.
Nicholas BuxeyHow to decide who to live with at university

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