Getting ready to go away to university is one of the most exciting times in any young person’s life. It’s also one of the most worrying times in any parent’s life, as their teenager finally cuts the apron strings and gets ready to live independently for the first time.
It can be especially worrying for parents when their son or daughter are moving into a shared house rather than a hall of residence. For parental peace of mind and to make life easier for future flatmates, here is an essential etiquette guide for house-sharing students.
Avoid green milk
After a lifetime of having the run of the fridge and helping yourself to whatever you fancy, it can be a shock when you’re in charge of your own shopping to realise that you haven’t bought those must-have items. When it’s three in the morning and you have an attack of the munchies, it might seem perfectly fine to help yourself to your housemate’s jar of chocolate spread – especially if you leave an IOU with a smiley face.
Wrong. When your unsuspecting housemate gets out of bed, hungover, over deadline and ravenous, they will be less than amused to discover they can’t have the toast and chocolate spread that they have eaten every day since they were three. If you haven’t got any, do without. If you start finding bottles of green, blue or red milk in the fridge, take this as a sign that your housemate is fed up with your borrowing – and get your own!
Avoid power struggles
There are often two camps in student houses. One lot leaves every light and appliance on at all times, irrespective of whether they’re being used or whether the room is occupied. (Often, these housemates’ parents breathe a sigh of relief when they leave home.) The other lot follow their housemates around, muttering darkly about the price of electricity and turning off lights and appliances irrespective of whether someone is still using it and whether someone is still occupying the room.
Try to agree some sensible ground-rules, especially if you’re splitting the bill equally and want to save some money – Ovo Energy is a good option which operates across Britain. Lights and appliances to be turned off when leaving the room – except if only leaving for a minute to grab a coffee or nip to the loo. It’s also worth checking whether you might save money by switching electricity suppliers.
Keep it down
The first year at university usually brings to mind wild parties, late nights and general excess. However, the money being invested in your time at university means that you may want to spend some of your time actually studying. And even if you don’t, there’s a strong possibility that some of your housemates want to get in some serious work. If possible, try to agree times that are okay for partying, playing loud music and having the gang round, and also some times when the volume goes down so people can study, sleep or chill out. This is also likely to make you much more popular with your neighbours if you live in a residential area.
No one wants to be a killjoy, but if you find a proper balance between having fun, sleeping and studying, then you’ll stand a much better chance of surviving university in one piece and even coming out with a degree at the end. Follow these three golden rules and you’ll have a much happier house-sharing experience – if you’re lucky, you might even make some great friends that last a lifetime.
Did you share a house or flat when you went to uni? What was your experience?
This is a promotional post with an image from Ben Smith.