University is a time for change and learning how to live (far) away from home. The first year away from home can be challenging, especially if you live in a shared house with people you have never met before. Managing to keep up with university, learning how to cook and doing chores, can be quite difficult while sharing facilities and keeping the peace with one another.
If you follow these simple tips, you will be able to keep the peace at home and enjoy the shared house with other students.
Be polite and respect each other’s spaces
Whether you are sharing a studio or an apartment with someone, you need to be aware of each other’s spaces and respect the fact that sometimes people might want some privacy. In common areas, divide the spaces evenly, such as cupboard space in the kitchen, or toiletry space in the bathroom. If you are sharing an actual room, it is important to be polite: don’t play loud music or television without headphones, and don’t get on their side of the room unless you have been asked. Sharing a room means having tight living quarters, that's why it is important to give them some alone time as well. Maybe go for a walk or go out, but spending every second of the day together might make both of you nervous and ready to fight.
Communication is key
The most important thing about living with someone else is communication. Whether you have to figure out whose turn it is to clean the bathroom, or who is in charge of buying groceries this week, communication is key. Rather than being passive aggressive, sit down and have a good conversation about the things that are bothering you. Talking things out is the best way to maintain a good environment in the house and to get along. Getting angry won't solve your irritations and you might end up sharing personal space with someone you can’t speak to for months. Avoid that awkward position, communicate!
Discuss your studying habits and schedule
Being a university student means that your schedules are going to be different. Make sure to talk about your classes, so you can decide who gets to go to the bathroom first, or whether you need to be quiet on Tuesday morning if your roommate doesn’t have class till the afternoon. Also share your schedule: if you think you might go out at night and won’t come home till late (or not at all), let me know so they won’t wake up in the middle of the night thinking their being robbed. Also, your roommate might need complete silence while studying or working at home, so make sure to ask before you start dancing around the kitchen blasting music.
Have some ground rules
Rules aren’t always meant to be broken. Sometimes it is important to set some basic rules, since your habits might not be the same. Decide whether you both enjoy some background noise while working, or whether they like a special type of soap for dishes and the bathroom, you need to make decisions together and rules to make living together more bearable. The important thing is to compromise: you might not always be 100% happy with the rules, but you need to be reasonable and create rules that make both of you comfortable enough to live in the house.
Shared house, a room or apartment can be stressful, whether it is with a friend or a complete stranger. There are lots of things that could go wrong, but there is so much you can do to make living together good and maybe make a very good friend in the process!
Just follow these tips and you will enjoy your home and won’t be afraid of going home every day! Also, don't forget to check out our housing section and guide to read more about finding a new place and getting settled!