Shared living. For many younger people, their first experience of it will be at university – be it in halls or in private rental accommodation.
Shared living with people who may be complete strangers can be daunting to say the least, but often strong friendships are created, and it can be a very rewarding experience which sets you up for later life.
If university is going to be your first experience of living with people other than your family, take a look at our top tips for surviving shared living as a student.
Create a Set of Ground Rules
Sinks full of dirty dishes, late night banging on the doors, and loud guests can all create friction between housemates. To keep everybody on the same page, lay down some ground and make sure everyone agrees and gets behind them, some might include:
- Keeping the noise down after 10pm on weeknights.
- Only bringing friends over on weekends or if nobody else is home.
- Clean up after yourself – leave the room in a better state than you found it.
- If a partner moves in or stays a lot, they should contribute to the bills.
- Anything in the fridge that’s labelled is not for communal use.
- Keep the doors and windows locked when nobody is in the house.
Split the Cleaning Duties
Cleaning is something that can create all manner of arguments if not managed correctly. As well as making sure that everyone takes responsibly for their own mess, it’s important that everybody chips in with the communal jobs such as taking the bins out.
Additionally, things will get dirty over time even with people cleaning up after themselves, so having a cleaning rota ensures that nothing ever gets into a really bad state – this will also increase the likelihood of you getting your full housing deposit back at the end of the year.
You can download a free cleaning rota here.
Sharing Is Caring
As well as sharing the cleaning, it’s important that other things are shared to prevent conflict between housemates. Common areas of dispute may include:
- Bathrooms – Especially if there is only one, ensure that people communicate when they know they are going to be in there for a while.
- Showers – As above, if you all have lectures at similar times, be sure to leave some additional time to shower beforehand.
- Communal Areas – Living rooms, kitchens and gardens should be there for everyone’s enjoyment not for the sole enjoyment of a housemate and their friends from home.
- Parking – If you have allocated parking, share it! Read our blog post if you’re not sure whether to take your car university or not.
- Bills – On a slightly different vein, you should take care to ensure that all the bills are shared fairly throughout your tenancy.
Choose the Right Housemates
The people you live with will have a significant influence on whether you enjoy shared living or not. If you’re jumping straight into private accommodation, the university will often try and match you up with people that have similar interests.
On the other hand, if you’ve been living in halls and are moving to private accommodation, you’ll be responsible for choosing a group of people to live with. Here are our top considerations when making this decision:
- Living with your partner isn’t always the best idea, it can be distracting and not to mention very, very awkward if you separate!
- People on your course will have the same lectures and deadlines as you, this is really beneficial as it means quiet revision time will be respected.
- Furthermore, people with the same interests and hobbies as you can make great housemates.
- It’s not always a great idea to live with your best mates, particularly if you didn’t get much work done in first year.
For more advice on halls vs. private accommodation and choosing who to live with, check out our blog on things to consider when choosing your student accommodation.
Look After Each Other
Finally, make sure you have each other’s backs – you’re all in this together, after all:
- Know the signs of mental health problems and what to do about them.
- Don’t bolt the doors at night until everyone’s back.
- Remember when everyone’s birthday is, birthdays away from home can bring on homesickness, particularly if they’re a long way away.
- If someone has exams coming keep the noise down when they’re revising.
- Help out with the cleaning, even when it’s not yours.
- Set time aside to do things together as a group.
- Cook for each other, this can also help you save money.
- Respect each other’s personal space.
Student Accommodation With Bristol Digs
At Bristol Digs, we’ve been proving high quality student accommodation in Bristol since 2011 and are now one of Bristol’s larger student accommodation providers.
To find out more about the range of properties we have available, call one of the team today on 0117 930 8750 or fill out a contact form and we’ll get back to you.