How to cope with negative living spaces at university

Moving into your new place at university doesn't always go to plan. However, there are ways to cope with difficult living situations...
Avantika Vaishnav
Avantika Vaishnav

This post was written by an external contributor. Seren Morris gives some helpful advice to anyone who is struggling with their living situation. 

When moving away for university, everyone has that image in their head of what a student house will be, a Fresh Meat-esque never ending house party where you meet your best friends for life. This isn’t always the case. But if you end up in a difficult living situation, it’s not the end of the world.

There are ways to make the most out of each and every living arrangement – if you’re willing to try.

If you didn’t get into halls…

negative living spaces

For most, not getting into halls is far from ideal, and that’s understandable. You might feel like you’re missing out on a university experience, or suffer from general FOMO of flat parties and pres before nights at the student union bar. But not getting into halls is not as bad as it may initially seem.

If you find yourself in this position, it’s so important that you don’t let it get to you. Accept that meeting people and making friends might require that little bit more effort, but that you can do it. Attend as many on campus events as you can, make the commute to halls to go to parties and spend time hanging out in the SU coffee shop. It might not be ideal, but it’s not as awful as it may seem.

Plus, if you look on the bright side, you get to learn how to live independently without the safety net of halls, and by the time everyone moves out next year, you’ll already have the lowdown on rent/landlords/cleaning up after yourself.

If you don’t get on with your flatmates…

negative living spaces

Not clicking with your flatmates can be awful. You find yourself avoiding the kitchen so you don’t have to make small talk with the girl across the hall who hasn’t said more than three words with you since you moved in. Or you find yourself outside of a flat clique that formed without you. Don’t let this get to you; remember that these are your flatmates don’t have to be your best friends.

Make an effort to get along with them, such as sticking to your chores and not being too loud or inconsiderate. However, don’t feel like you have to force a friendship if it’s not there. Get on with them on a flatmate level and that’s all you need to make sure your time living together is as easy as it can be.

If you moved in with friends and then fell out with them…

negative living spaces

This might be the worst scenario: you were so excited to move in with your besties, imagined yourselves cooking dinner together, getting ready in each other’s rooms, thinking that living together would be one long sleepover… Only to end up falling out and avoiding meeting each other on the stairs at all costs.

Obviously, the ideal situation would be to make up. But if you think your friendship is beyond repair, don’t let living together get you down. Maybe you feel like you want to stay out of each other’s way, but don’t hide away in your bedroom. Carry on living as you would have previously, or you might feel bullied out of your own home. Stand your ground and make the best of a bad situation. It may not be fun, but you can make it bearable.

If it gets so bad you start feeling miserable, ask friends if you can stay around theirs occasionally, or ask friends to sleepovers around yours. Don’t think of it as running away, but as taking care of yourself. Whatever you do, don’t let yourself feel alone. Surround yourself by people who love you and you can’t go wrong.

And remember: it will all be over at the end of the semester or school year, and you’ll be free to start afresh somewhere new.

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