Freshers' Week 2016: 7 ways to avoid being a terrible flatmate at university

There’s always one flatmate who constantly ‘forgets’ it’s their turn to buy the loo roll. Don’t be that person. 

Charlotte Mason
Thursday 22 September 2016 18:17
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Chances are, your student kitchen won't always look this clean and tidy
Chances are, your student kitchen won't always look this clean and tidy

Going to university is one of the most exciting, scary and life-changing experiences you will ever have.

With Freshers’ Week imminent, thousands of students are packing their bags and preparing to leave home for the first time.

But in the scramble to learn how to make tuna pasta bake and hunt down that perfect academic diary before term starts, you probably haven’t given much thought to the strangers you’ll be moving in with.

Love it or hate it, living in a student flat is a quintessential part of the university experience. There are some things you should know about getting along with your new neighbours to make settling into student life much easier.

1) Don’t sleep with your flatmate

You may have fallen for Tom’s brown eyes, witty banter and outstanding playlist at pre-drinks, but remember you’ll be living together for a whole year.

Yes, it could turn into a long-term romance, but if you break up, things are going to turn as sour as that bottle of milk that’s been sitting in the fridge since Freshers’ Week began.

2) Don’t make (too much) mess

Mess is a common source of arguments, so if you can find a happy medium on this one, you’re set for a relatively smooth year.

Student homes are infamously grubby, so don’t go in with your rubber gloves and sponge expecting hygiene standards worthy of Buckingham Palace.

Make a weekly rota for jobs like taking bins out and hoovering to avoid arguments.

3) Avoid politics - unless you enjoy a fight

Political discussion may offer a nice break from your usual chatter about cute lecturers, deadlines and how a traffic cone found its way into the kitchen last night.

But be warned. Launching into a rant about the Labour leadership contest at breakfast is probably best avoided, as is telling your Mexican friend how Donald Trump seems like a pretty likeable guy.

4) Don’t go PAP (Passive Aggressive by Post-it)

However olfactorily offended you are to find yet another open can of tuna stinking out the fridge, resist temptation to vent your anger by sticking notes everywhere.

The best step to resolving your flatmate’s dirty habit is to tell them directly. They probably don’t even realise they’re causing a problem.

5) Don’t be the tight one

There’s always one flatmate who constantly ‘forgets’ it’s their turn to get the loo roll/bin bags/washing-up liquid. Don’t be that person.

Have the boring cleaning chat at the beginning of the year when you’re all in the new friends honeymoon period and share out responsibility for buying household essentials.

6) Don’t be a thief

Milk, eggs and butter are fine, as long as you replace them. Nabbing half their Galaxy might be a step too far.

​Labelling food can deter fridge lurkers and you can even use a Tupperware box to protect your beloved mini flapjack bites.

People who swig milk straight from the bottle should be treated with extreme caution.

7) Don’t brag about your gap yah

Your tales of Argentinean cultural discovery and boozy backpacking adventures in Thailand might be a cool icebreaker at Freshers’, but start one too many conversations with the words, ‘When I was on my gap year…’ and watch their eyes glaze over faster than that Brazilian taxi driver who drove off with your passport on the back seat. Yes, Alex, you already told us the story…

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