When it’s time to head off to university into your own student digs, it’s an exciting yet scary period. It’s a new experience filled with lots of new lessons and experiences. It’s also the first time for many students to move out of the comfort zone of living with their parents. While a student house share might sound scary, it’s also a great way to learn more about how to work well with others. As you begin the search for the right housing environment, consider these ten tips on how you can survive and thrive in a student house share.
When you’re in a living environment with other people, you’ll quickly realise that everyone has their own way of doing things. Instead of looking down on anyone else, do your best to maintain a level of respect for one another’s differences. If there is a difference of opinion, make sure to communicate it in a respectful manner. When people feel respected, they’re more likely to get along with one another. Watch your tone when you communicate. Be self-aware. It’s important to be mindful of about how you come across. Body language and tone of voice make a real difference in how people relate to one another.
When it’s time to consider respecting your roommates, it’s important to recognise that this concept covers a myriad of areas. Being mindful of the noise level and respecting your roommate who might be asleep is best. Not only is it respectful, it’s considerate. When you finish using the bathroom, turn on the fan or spray air freshener in the area. Be intentional about cleaning up the shared spaces you all live in. Furthermore, if you have your own room, it’s still important to make sure you keep it clean. When you don’t, you’ll end up attracting rodents, bugs and other unwanted creatures. Those creatures won’t just stay in your room. They’ll travel to other areas of the home. Even though you’ve made a mess in your room, it impacts others and is really disrespectful to them. It doesn’t mean that you need to be paranoid when you’re taking care of a living space. You just need to be mindful. In being mindful, you’ll end up being respectful.
2. Quiet Hours
It’s clear that everyone living in the house is a student. Knowing this, students enrol in university to study and get good grades. Establish quiet hours so that everyone can study as they please. Granted, the house won’t be as quiet as a mouse because people live there. There will be times when people want to play music, entertain guests and watch TV. However, set quiet hours for the evening. For example, you could decide that everyone has to be quiet after 10 p.m. This will help everyone to be respectful of those who want to get to bed early or spend more time studying late at night.
A great way to manage the quiet hours and needs of your roommates involves door signs. It’s a good idea to create message signs for each door. When a roommate is in the middle of studying or sleeping, they can put up a sign that says do not disturb. When the sign is not in use, take it down. This one gesture can help you and your roommates understand one another better. Plus, you’ll have a better idea for each other’s schedules. Some roommates might have early classes and others might have late-night classes. Just because a roommate has an early class doesn’t mean that they can blast music loudly in the morning when they’re getting ready. The other roommates might be asleep and this can be disrespectful.
As exhausting as it might feel, communication is so essential. Never assume a predicament is a way it appears. It’s always important to have conversations with your roommates face-to-face. Avoid the temptation to address matters via text message or email. As long as you all communicate efficiently and effectively, you’ll be able to thrive in a student house share because you understand one another’s perspectives.
It’s normal for conflict to happen. If you are in a predicament where you all are struggling to get on the same page, it’s a good idea to find a mediator. The mediator can help you all work through any difficulties you all are experiencing as roommates. It’s also wise to consider hosting a roommate meeting every single month. This can be the opportunity for you all to get out any frustrations, comments or concerns you may be having. Furthermore, try to do things together every now and then. Go out to dinner. Go to the movies. Do a volunteer project as a group. As you develop a relationship with one another, it’ll become easier for you all to communicate with one another about different issues you’re having. When you’re able to facilitate an open and honest dialogue, the healthier the environment will be.
Cleanliness is essential for any living space. When you have multiple people living in one space, it’s easy for dirt to pile up. Sanitary practices are important. Sit down as roommates and draft a list of chores. Make sure you all are committed to finishing your chores for that week. When everyone does their part, you’re able to keep the space clean and organised. Take the approach of making sure you clean up after yourself once you finished using a specific space. Additionally, create a list of chores for each roommate to take turns completing. Chores like vacuuming, wiping down tabletops and taking out the trash are great examples.
It’s essential for the all of the housemates to be mindful of the fact that everyone has their own definition of what cleanliness really is. Set a standard between the roommates. Make sure there’s an understanding of what it looks like to have a clean bathroom. The same applies to the kitchen as well as any of the other shared spaces. A detail like this might seem like it’s not necessary. However, if one roommate looks at the tub and thinks it’s clean and the other one thinks it’s not, this can lead to problems. No one wants to bathe in a dirty tub. Get an understanding of the types of cleaning products you all prefer to use. It’s also good to talk about items like air purifiers, diffusers and plug-in products that can make the home smell better.
Take a look at everyone’s dietary needs, restrictions and preferences. If you all tend to have a lot of cuisine styles in common, it’s a good idea to combine your finances to pay for the food in the home. You can choose to have one person who gets the groceries, another one who preps the food and another one who actually cooks the food. When this happens, you’ll be able to carry the burden equally. Otherwise, it’s okay to prepare your own food and meals separately. Just remember the benefit of combining your financial resources is that more money can go further.
As a student in university, you probably don’t have tons of time to spend cooking in the kitchen. As roommates, you all can consider whether or not you want to make small investments in purchases like crock pots, rice cookers and other automatic cooking tools. After a long day, it would be so nice to be able to come home to a piping hot bowl of soup. If no one has the time to make it, it’s a lot easier to throw all of the ingredients in a slow cooker, set it on low and allow it to cook while everybody’s in class. Find automated ways to take care of food preparation so that you all can focus primarily on your studies. If a roommate knows that they’ll have guests over, purchase extra food so that the roommates aren’t impacted by your guests and their voracious appetites.
There are so many expenses to consider when you are in a student house share. If you all want to redecorate the place and make it look cozy, you’ll want to purchase rugs, pillows and candles. Think about the kitchen and the different accessories you’ll need. Cooking utensils, dish washing liquid and garbage bags are expenses that any household needs.
For the bathroom, items like air freshener, toilet paper and hand soap are needed on a regular basis. In a laundry room, items like laundry detergent, fabric softener and bleach can go quickly as well. Consider the number of people who are using all of these items and stock up in advance. If you choose to purchase items in bulk form, this can help you all save a lot of money as well. Decide how much you’ll be able to contribute to the purchase of these expenses every month. Be realistic and honest about what you can afford each month.
A great way to approach the situation involves keeping a separate bank account for these types of purchases. You can put all of your combined incomes into one pot. You can also set a budget so that each month you know where the money is going. As certain items are running out, someone can use that combined budget to restock the necessities. If you choose to use an online shopping option, you can potentially earn points and save money in the process. Since most students and University are on tight budgets, it’s important to utilize any saving tool you can find.
7. Paying Rent
It’s important for rental payments to be timely and orderly. You all can decide to put the money into a specific account by a date that’s a little earlier than the due date. Once it’s in that account, you can use direct debit to the landlord. Otherwise, communicate the rental agreement with the landlord directly. If the landlord chooses to receive separate payments from each of the roommates, this is another easy way to handle your tenant agreement from a financial perspective.
To live in a place where you feel secure and safe is really vital. It’s also essential for each person to feel like their items are protected. Each night, make sure that there is a secure lock on the door. Nowadays, there are cameras you can easily install that also serve as doorbells. This way, you’ll be able to see who’s at the door and monitor the premises. It’s also a wise idea to put a lock on your door. When you go off to university, there are a lot of items that you bring with you that are sentimental, special or expensive. Items like laptops, safes and jewellery should always be locked away when you’re leaving the house.
While it is easy for some roommate to take offence at the desire to lock up all of your belongings, it’s a good idea to have a conversation about it. Communicate the fact that it’s not personal. It’s more about making sure that everything and everyone stays protected. Have a conversation about safety precautions that everyone should practice on a regular basis. Since you all live together, there’s a certain level of accountability you have to one another. Each roommate is an adult and that’s to be respected. At the same time, it’s important to know where your roommates are. If a roommate is planning on going on an out-of-town trip, make sure someone in the house knows. You don’t want anything to happen where a roommate goes missing and no one in the house knew their most recent whereabouts.
9. Personality Blend
If you have the opportunity to choose ahead of time, interview different people to be your roommates. Personalities can clash in ways that can leave students ready to drop out of university. No one desires a contentious living situation. Be honest with one another about how you live and what you expect out of a house share experience.
If you all become roommates and realise that your personalities don’t mesh well, understand that it’s possible to live with people you don’t agree with. As long as there is a level of mutual respect, everything can move smoothly. The key is respect. When there is a concerted amount of disrespect happening, it might be time to bring the landlord into the situation. If reconciliation can’t happen, someone needs to move.
10. Established Rules
Once you decide who your roommates will be, have really honest conversations about established rules. Talk about overnight guests, cleanliness and noise. Once you’ve established the rules, there is no question as to how to move forward. If someone violates the rules, make sure there are consequences for those actions. Otherwise, people will break the rules because they know there are no repercussions.
Take it one step at a time. Yes, this might feel like a lot of responsibility to handle in addition to course work. However, if you remain committed to the process, you can have the best living experience a student in uni could ever ask for.