University: Choosing Your Housemates

Having lovely or nightmare housemates can make or break your university experience. I wrote about having nightmare housemates a few months ago (amazingly winning a Chromebook in the process – thanks Currys!), and now it’s time to write about choosing your housemates to make sure you have the best year.

 photo 2014-07-08105917_zps6e2cc3e9.jpgI was lucky when I first arrived at university, picking up some friends either in the first lecture, or even on Facebook before I arrived. I actually introduced one set of friends to the other to fill up the last room in your second year house, and whilst I was terrified they’d all hate each other, it worked brilliantly. So much so that three of us are continuing to live together next year after placements end (SO excited). But I have heard of many people not getting on with their housemates, despite being friends at first, and I’ve come up with some ideas of what you might want to think about before deciding to move in together;
 photo 3d3b4f41-87eb-4b9c-8279-eaf3ca86e377_zps5e960d34.jpg

Coursemates or Not?

For me, I’m not sure I could live with someone doing the exact same course as me (I have fixed modules, so everything would be the same). I’m just not convinced I’d ever have chance to get completely away from the study side of things. On the plus side, you’d always have someone to walk to those 9am lectures with!

Libby does a very similar course to me, roughly half our modules are the same, and I personally found that a great balance. Always someone to ask for help, but I didn’t feel like I had to continually compare my progress.

I’d also be wary of living with someone studying a completely different course. Our house was made up of an architect, a forensic scientists, and us two mathletes, so we weren’t hugely similar. But they were all courses with significant contact hours – I’d avoid living with someone doing a lot less than you, as you don’t want them to be inconsiderate when you have a 9am the next day!
 photo 2014-03-16161450_zps799fb199.jpg

Similar Interests

I love cooking, and so a decent kitchen was on my list for a house. It made sense that my future housemates felt the same way, and luckily we ended up with a small (but perfectly functioning) kitchen that produced many delicious cakes and bakes. Featuring: Peanut Butter Caramel Cake!

We also had lots of other things in common; one housemate was from where I grew up; two of us loved dogs; another two were pretty much beauty addicts. The only slight issue was the love of candles combined with the fear of fire, but we got around that.

And the best thing – we all loved the Great British Bake Off!
 photo 2013-11-20155825_zps0db604f4.jpg

Finances

I personally get a little bit jealous of people that have plenty of money to live on at university. It’s a bit selfish I know, but I can’t help it! I’m on the minimum loan, and my parents help me out as much as possible, but if I wasn’t receiving an academic scholarship I wouldn’t be there. It’s important to work out that you all have a roughly similar budget, or there will be regrets and tensions when you do find somewhere.

It’s also good to iron out how you will be paying bills if they aren’t included. All putting an equal amount in each month, or splitting them off and evening it up at the end?

Other Halves

Possible a strange thing to consider, but I’d think about it anyway. If your future housemates are in relationships then it’s important you all get along with each other’s partners. If not, it will just be an awkward atmosphere.

You might also want to think about whether anyone will likely be left overnight on their own a lot. I think we managed to avoid this on the whole in second year – and it obviously depends on the area you are living in as to whether it’s a big concern. It wasn’t for us when we first moved in, but a few incidents around this time last year made us a bit more aware!
 photo 2015-01-10 20.10.13_zpsn6lc6hz5.jpg

Food Preferences

This is something I’ve thought about more this year, renting a spareroom. I live in a small two-bed house with my landlady (her partner, three large dogs and a cat). She’s a vegetarian, and I love meat. I’m always wary about cooking something too ‘meaty’ as I don’t want to offend her, plus it clearly makes her feel queasy! It’s not a make-or-break situation, but if you are a die-hard steak fan, I avoid living with a veggie if possible! Or encourage them to have more evenings in the library…

Cleanliness

This is a big problem. You’ll know from this post that my housemates in halls were in general disgusting. Living with clean people was a big issue for me when deciding who to live with. As I’m living with them again next year, I’m sure you can all tell that they were up to scratch!

More seriously though, if you know someone doesn’t do their fair share, and you know that will irritate you, think twice about living with them. Or have a strict rota – we had to implement one for putting out the bins!

Now I just feel like I am being fussy about housemates, but in reality it was so easy for me to find people I wanted to live with – and I can’t wait to live with some of them again next year! How do you find housesharing? Any tips I have missed?