This is the kind of housemate conviviality to which we must all aspire / BANANASTOCK

Matthew Hawker apparently has something he wants to get off his chest...

These days, higher education is not only a hard-earned privilege, but a rite of passage; for the majority of young people, studying at university is fast becoming the norm. As such, the real concern for a prospective student is no longer whether they’ll get into a university, but to ensure that they’ll be accepted into their institution of choice.

However, when you do eventually arrive, there are a number of things that you’d do well to consider; all of which relate to being a good housemate. At times, the clash of personalities in a household can mean living in shared accommodation is a nightmare. On the other hand, your housemates shouldn’t really have much cause for complaint, provided you aren’t at fault for any of these five inexcusable offences.

Opening a window when the heating’s on

You do realise that you’re a university student, don’t you? It has been made abundantly clear to you that the heating is a gift, not a given, hasn’t it? Well, in that case, it might be worth remembering that leaving the window open is quite possibly the most aggravatingly careless thing you could’ve done whilst the heating’s on. In fact, why is it on in the first place? Heat doesn’t come cheap, y’know.

Forgetting to lock the front door

Are you a fan of high crime rates? Or do you simply not care about your own property? Forgetting to lock the front door is equivalent to leaving it wide open. Due to the sheer bulk of goodies both you and your housemates will have stored in your university abode, you’ll already be a target of many ambitious burglars in your area; and you don’t want to have to be the one to explain how they managed to get away with everything so easily.

Making an excessive amount of noise during the small hours

This doesn’t necessarily refer to your drunken outbursts after a night of hard binge-drinking; you are, after all, a student. No, this is more likely to be directed towards the musicians of the house. If you are musically gifted, then great; the world can never have too many of the culturally aware. However, if you also have nocturnal tendencies, then, I’m afraid, there will be a problem.

Ultimately, most people attend university to study. You might very well choose to ignore this aspect of the experience, but that doesn’t mean everybody else will. As such, you might want to call time on your late-night music career; there are only so many times your housemates will endure ‘Smoke on the Water’ at four in the morning before they reach the end of their tether.

Refusing to take the bin out

What’s that? The bin needs to be taken out? Well, I wouldn’t worry about it; you took it out last week, right? Wrong. You never take the bin out, and that’s why you’re being asked to do so now.

If this sounds anything like yourself, then the chances are that you’re probably not around much. In your eyes, any time that you do pull your weight deserves a degree of appreciation. Though, from your housemates, your infrequent contributions will only ever be met with a thankful cry of ‘hallelujah’.

Neglecting to wash-up borrowed kitchenware

It’s becoming less and less rewarding to arrive at halls equipped with an arsenal of kitchen utensils. Of course, those assorted stainless steel knives did look very appealing in the store, and how else were you to cope without that whisk, sieve and pizza cutter? It’s all too easy for your typically anxious first year student to panic-buy these, quite frankly, unnecessary kitchen items. If you want a piece of advice, buy only what you absolutely can’t live without, and nothing else.

However, should one of your very overly prepared housemates choose to ignore this message, then do not take it upon yourself to capitalise on their poor judgement. It is already likely that a year-long merry-go-round of uncovering who exactly ‘borrowed’ their property, then casually ‘forgot’ to wash it up afterwards awaits them; so they don’t need your help in making things any worse.

Matthew Hawker is currently a student at the University of Sheffield, where living conditions seem grim. Follow him on Twitter via @MatthewHawker1