It happens at every university. Someone, somewhere has terrible, terrible housemates. Now this post is a little tongue-in-cheek, but it’s built on actual experiences that either I went through or was told about.
I wish I had a picture of the chopping board in my halls kitchen to show you. Put it this way; it was white when we moved in. I binned it at Christmas and it was black. The only time I used it I got food poisoning.
You may end up housesharing with someone who’s hygiene isn’t quite up to scratch. Whether its just mildly annoying, like the person who does not, who will not take the bloody bins out, to something a little more risky to your health, it’s quite likely to happen. I witnessed things I would rather forget in my first year, and smelt things that I doubt I will ever leave behind. A BBQ Pizza left on the table for a week, then put in the fridge, then cooked a week later? Believe me, not pleasant. The same person also used to sellotape up the plug-hole every time they showered (around once a fortnight). Que a minor flood, and about ten handfuls of hair all over the bathroom. And the very obviously dirty underwear that hung in the bathroom for around two days. That was the unclean side. The dirty side resulted from the inability to wash up after handling raw meat, the refusal to empty their fridge shelf of old food before piling fresh stuff on top of it (I once could only identify a packet of green beans because thats what the label said they were), and the chicken that was defrosting behind the microwave for at least five days.
Moral of the story – stay clean yourself, and you’ll survive. I got by with only two extremely dodgy tummies in the year – and one could have been a restaurant meal. I kept all my cooking stuff upstairs, sprayed and wiped the surfaces before putting my things on them (even the sink before washing up!), and emptied out the fridge every term. Oh, and if their washing up stuff was left longer than a week, it went in a cardboard box. And then I chucked that in the bin at the end of the term. It killed me that once that included some Joseph Joseph kitchenware. Trust me, I tried my damn hardest to chisel whatever it was off. No luck.
Especially your teaspoons. I swear they must grow legs and walk off…I buy about 10 teaspoons a year and most of them disappear. I tell a lie…I have a habit of accidentally throwing them in the bin with my teabag in the morning. And having read the first point in this post you’ll understand why I didn’t want to retrieve anything out of the bin.
But anyway, a lot of people I know had housemates who like to “borrow” things. Most of the time it was a genuine borrow, but things didn’t get washed up, things got broken (plastic handled spoons and freezer-cold ice cream don’t mix). My advise is that if you have something you are really precious about, leave it at home. Take things that can relatively easily be replaced. Or just hide everything in your room. Simples.
On 1st April of my first year, I was met by a note on the fridge. Apparently the guy upstairs had heard a noise at 3am, gone downstairs to find the kitchen window wide open and his bacon missing from the fridge. Now I have issues with his story for a few reasons. Firstly, no way in hell could someone have easily got through that window. Secondly, what was wrong with my sausages also sitting in the fridge? Oh, and referring to the first point in this post – why would anyone want anything out of our kitchen?!
But food stealing does happen, unfortunately. Other than a bit of cheese I never had food stolen myself (probably as it was mostly upstairs!) so I was relatively lucky. I knew of a house where someone left the back door (leading to the kitchen) unlocked. A group of people snuck in, blocked off the kitchen door, and cleared their cupboards, fridge and freezer of everything. You have no idea how devastated I would be if I woke up to all my food gone.
So, stay clean, hide things and keep doors locked.
They’re my top three student tips for surviving nightmare housemates, and probably my top few tips for surviving university in general. I’ve written this post to take part in #CurrysStudentHacks competition, which you can read more about here.
Have you ever had to live with ‘difficult’ people? How did you survive? Any top tips for university?