Insight

University Life

/ 3 years ago /

 Article by Alex Ekong

Don’t be that guy: the don’ts and definitely don’ts of sharing a university flat

They say you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family. Well, ‘they’ forgot to take into account the random algorithm that chooses who you shack up with in a university flat for your whole first year.

You can’t choose your uni flatmates, so you can’t ever guarantee that whoever you live with isn’t a monster. You can only hope to be a paragon of virtue and pray that your fellow flatmates will follow suit. To help you do that, here’s our list of cardinal sins you should NEVER commit when you’re sharing a uni flat.

Don’t: Leave your mess lying around

uni flat

Image via Giphy

The easiest way to not make lifelong enemies in uni flat is to take care of your own mess and don’t be gross with your food. This one’s pretty straightforward but too many people still forget it.

Take Christina*’s flatmate for instance who “always had her milk carton lying horizontally on her fridge shelf, and she never closed her milk carton cap properly, so milk kept dripping onto all my groceries”. Yuck.

Definitely don’t: Be a clean freak

uni flat

Image via Giphy

Beware though, there’s another side of the coin to this. Don’t feel obliged to clean up everybody else’s stuff. You’ll either be stuck doing it every time or people will think you’re odd.

One Warwick student complained of a nightmare flatmate who would “go into my cupboards, throw out my food and clean them”. If there’s mess you didn’t make, don’t be a vigilante. Talk to people.

Don’t: Get romantically involved with your flatmates

uni flat

Image via Giphy

Just don’t, especially in first year. Everyone and their granddad has a story about a romance with a flatmate that goes south and makes things awkward when you see them every day for a year. There are infinitely more fish in the sea, cast your net a little further.

Definitely don’t: Try and convert your flatmates to your religion. Constantly.

uni flat

Image via Giphy

Ellie* told us a story about a Seventh Day Adventist flatmate who, ironically, made her life a living hell. “He would bombard me with leaflets and constantly judge me for doing anything”.

Aside from the things that are just good manners or good sense, let people do whatever makes them happy. Remember, what works for you might not for other people.

Don’t: Make it all about you

uni flat

Image via Giphy

No-one’s a fan of the person who has to relate everything everyone says to a crazy gap-yah story or the dude who brings his guitar out at every opportunity.

You’re at uni to soak up new experiences and meet people from all walks of likes, so be careful not to force your personality down everyone’s throat. Talk to your flatmates but, most importantly, listen.

Definitely don’t: Hold money over people’s heads

uni flat

Image via Giphy

Especially if they don’t know about it. One of Belle*’s housemates was in charge of the bills and ‘didn’t let us know how much they were for 8 months so we owed him hundreds of pounds which he held over us which was horrible’.

If this job falls to you in your house, make sure to keep people in the loop about what’s going on. Nothing like a money argument to carve up a uni household for the whole year.

Don’t: Be passive aggressive

uni flat

Image via Giphy

You’re not always gonna get on with your flatmates, you know that by now. But as opposed to sulking and getting busy with the post-it notes on everything, go for open face-to-face discussion instead.

It might be awkward but this will set a precedent for the rest of the year and, actually, make your burgeoning friendships stronger long-term. Aw.

Definitely don’t: Get so drunk that they call an ambulance

uni flat

Image via Giphy

Sure, if you chunder everywhere on a night out early on, you’ll never live it down but if you have to involved the emergency services, that’ll follow you for your whole university career and beyond. This story of bravery and stupidity comes for Dan* at the University of Birmingham.

“One of my flatmates, for reasons unbeknownst to anyone spent the afternoon drinking a shot of straight vodka every 15 minutes. At 8pm we had to call an ambulance to wake him up, before he tried to start on the paramedics” No coming back from that tbh.

Don’t: Steal things!

uni flat

Image via Giphy

Not only will people notice, but chances are they will exact a terrible vengeance. One cunning Portsmouth student caught a Coco Pops thief by lacing the whole box with chocolate laxatives.

‘We didn’t see the perpetrator again for a week. He didn’t steal again after that’. We think we can put together what happened.

Definitely don’t: Let people overstay their welcome

uni flat

Image via Giphy

Of course, you should definitely mingle with other flats, but let anyone get as comfortable as these guys did in Charlie*’s flat. She had some of her neighbours unofficially move into her flat, taking up fridge space and cluttering the shower. “They were filthy, loud and inconsiderate. Eventually, they got kicked out of uni”. Damn straight.

Don’t: Try and change who you are

uni flat

Image via Giphy

Just be yourself, it doesn’t matter if it’s good enough for someone else” is how Jimmy Eat World would put it. Uni is the perfect time to reinvent yourself but your flatmates are with you all the time will see right through a fake personality. Flaunting the best things about you and improving the things you don’t like is the best way to go.

Definitely don’t: Go too far with the pranks

uni flat

Image via Giphy

Yes, there is such a thing as too far. This tweet we got says it all really:

Intense.

*Names changed to save people embarrassment. Hey, we’re not monsters.

Feature Image © Channel 4

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