Freshers week has been and gone, courses have been registered for, clubs joined and friends made; deadlines have also probably started to loom. As if fitting all this into your new life didn’t seem like enough to be getting on with, most students start looking for and signing contracts for living accommodation for the next academic year shortly after Christmas. Now I know we are still firmly in Autumn but I’m not jumping the gun here – it’s a very good idea to start thinking about who would be suitable living companions as soon as possible as you will probably have exams and even more deadlines to deal with after Christmas without the added headache of working out who has already found housemates, who you like and who you most certainly could not live with added into the mix.
I started thinking about it in October and changed my mind a good three times before settling (I lived with two of the three in my third year too, so I’m glad I was so indecisive). It’s a bizarre time with people sizing up their fellow hall inhabitants as potential house sharing material. Sort of like dating with far more commitment. The ‘asking to be roommates’ also feels suspiciously like asking someone out – ‘I’ve gotten to know you and really like you. So much so that I want to take this to the next level and live with you for at least a year’.
When considering future roomies, do the obvious and consider your own lifestyle. Whilst you may have fabulously fun, wild nights with the girl across the corridor, could you really live with her constant, loud music 24/7 without two heavy fire doors between you? Likewise if you en joy going out regularly, don’t opt to live in a house of people whose idea of death defying fun is quiz night at the pub with pork scratchings.
Also think about the amount of time you think you could realistically spend with someone before feeling the urge to stuff a sock down their throat. For some people, sharing a house as well as eight hours of teaching a day works fine, however for others, and I am firmly in this category, variety and space is crucial. I ended up with my two best friends and another guy (he needed somewhere to live and Harry was adamant that living with two girls by himself would drive him insane) for my second year, which worked well because we had similar night time lifestyles, were on different courses and ultimately got on. Except for the time the other guy decided, after a lot of nagging, to do his washing up. Unfortunately he couldn’t find the dish sponge and used the next best thing – a larger version he found in the bathroom. We didn’t live with him in third year.
Do think carefully about who you could happily live with. Whilst you can spend lots of time out the house and with other friends, living with people that you get on with really well enhances the whole experience no end. They become a sort of family away from home.
Of course 3 months is rarely enough time to fully get to know someone and living with them will certainly teach you what you don’t know. Some of it does come down to luck, and hopefully living together will strengthen the bonds and you will become a close unit. And if it doesn’t work out? Make the best of it and choose different people for the next year!