This is the time of year when you start to think about what’s coming next. Moving from halls into houses, or from one house to another,or moving back into the same house for another consecutive year. Either way, there is one thing which is more important than where you live: who you live with.
Choosing your housemates: In halls, I lived with a group of 11 friends, and we all wanted to live together in the second year. Of course, this was not possible, so we divided into two houses of 5 and 6. Doing this was a group decision. Certain people wanted to live with specific others; the girls all wanted to live together (as there were only 3 of us), I didn’t want to live with my boyfriend (as I knew I would struggle to get any work done if I did), and others felt their own feelings about other people.
My housemates ended up consisting of 3 boys, 3 other girls and me. One girl hadn’t been in halls with us. She moved in without us knowing her, because she had had a problem with her friends from halls, and didn’t have anywhere to live. We met her once before she signed the contract. Risky move, but luckily it worked out fine, as we all got on well.
House hunting: House hunting in first year was one of the most stressful experiences of uni life so far. We hadn’t decided on a budget before going to find a house, meaning various disputes during the house viewings about what we could and couldn’t afford. We finally settled on a 7 bedroom house in Portswood, with a reasonable rental price
Choosing your room: Then came the room choosing. We decided to be democratic, and so we wrote everyone’s names down on a piece of paper, and pulled them out of a wok (we couldn’t find a hat), in order to decide who got first choice of the bedrooms. I got first choice (YAY!).
Arguments: I was quite lucky with my housemates. There were rarely any serious arguments. One of my housemates, however, vanished from our lives after finding a new girlfriend. We never saw him alone again, and he has now left uni to be with her. This caused a bit of a stir in the house, as we were annoyed that we never got to see him. When we did get to see him he was unfriendly towards us, on one occasion spitting at me and another female housemate, because we told them to ‘get a room’. Incidents like this, however, are generally rare.
We had a cleaning rota that we all stuck to, meaning that the house maintained a reasonably decent standard of cleanliness for a student house. Socialising was a big thing in our house. We had numerous house parties and went out multiple times per week (uni work permitting, of course!). However, not everyone in the house always went out, which led to a few ‘KEEP THE NOISE DOWN!’ squabbles. The noise wasn’t just confined to night times, my housemate in the room above me liked to wake up early every morning and play Lionel Richie’s ‘Dancing On The Ceiling’. I could hear him singing along. At first, it bugged me, but then I learnt to enjoy my wake-up calls.
At the end of the year, I decided to move out. I had become good friends with my neighbour who was on the same course as me, and thought that living with her may help me to keep focused on my studies for third year.
My new housemates consist of 3 boys and 3 girls, myself included. This time we picked our rooms out of a plastic bag. We found our house and signed the contract last February.
Living with couples: At the time of signing the contract of the new house, I was the only house member who was in a relationship. During the Easter holidays, two couples formed out of my future housemates. When we moved into our new house in September this year, I moved in with two couples and one singleton, who has now found himself a girlfriend.
Obviously, I didn’t sign up to live with two couples. I assumed it would change the atmosphere of the house, as they would always be together. They are – but I’ve found that it doesn’t bother me too much. There are minimal public displays of affection, which is much appreciated.
You may think that all the tough decisions will come once you move into your new house, but the difficulty really lies in choosing who to live with for the next year of your life. Just because you don’t know someone very well doesn’t mean they won’t make a good housemate, and just because you get on with someone in halls doesn’t necessarily mean they will make a good housemate. Find the right people and you can all put your combined anger that would have been spent bickering with housemates, into being annoyed at your landlord