Who to live with?

Freshers 2018 is officially over. The £1 shot offers have ended, you’ve cleared out the pizza boxes, and sadly, you’re going to have to start socialising without playing cards. Yes, revel in your hangovers whilst you can folks, the sad fact is that university is not all drinking. For thousands of first years, the real, slightly soberer experience of uni is about to begin. In a few months, beer goggles firmly off, you’re going to be making a pretty big decision: who do I want to live with next year?

It might seem a bit early to ask this question, but it’s around this time that the first impressions of Freshers week can do a complete 180. Of course, a small and incredibly fortunate percentage of first years may have immediately been gifted seven best friends on the first day. If you believe you may fall into that category: congratulations! You can spend the next three years in condescending bliss as you watch the rest of us struggle to make small talk at the AU socials. But if you’re already feeling a bit wary about your neighbours or course mates, then have no fear! We’ve come up with some handy suggestions to make that question a bit easier, and help you figure out if you really want to spend the next three years living with Ben, the guy who wore that cool Hawaiian shirt on your first night out and now hasn’t taken it off in eight days.

Firstly, one of the most important things to remember is that living with someone is not always the same as being friends with them. The biggest tensions with housemates usually stem from differences in lifestyle, not necessarily personality, which means it’s a pretty good idea to find out people’s habits and preferences. If you have a particularly demanding schedule with uni, it might be better to live with course mates, or people who are okay with an early night. Try to imagine your ideal second year night: are you at a pub, or a club? It’s important not to feel like you’ll need to adjust your likes and interests in order to fit in with a house, so if you’re grimly dreading three nights a week at Fifth, maybe avoid Becca from across the road.

Of course, some of these issues might not matter too much to you right now, so here’s where you need to think about any potential issues later on. How do you like to revise? Do you need a clean, organised work environment? Do you hate noise? Then maybe a smaller house is better for you, away from Fallowfield, and in the more residential areas of Withington or Rusholme. If you’re already a bit strapped for cash and looking forward to saving some extra money, then these areas also typically tend to be cheaper and could help you avoid the rent tensions of a fancier build.

Of course, the year is still young, and your social circle may not be big enough to think about these details yet, which is why it’s important to try and meet as many new people as you can, both in uni or outside. Everyone’s eager to make friends at university, so although it might take a bit of time, don’t worry too much. Some people are just luckier than others, and if you come to the end of first year and want to give halls another go, or even try your luck with a flat share, these are both perfectly valid decisions. For now, keep your options open, and remember that no matter what happens, you need to buy more toilet roll.

Written by: Helena Young

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