Introducing: Your Flatmates!
So, you’ve received your A-Level results and have made the courageous (and somewhat daunting) decision to pack up your so far very comfortable life (having your clothes cleaned, dinners cooked and bed made for you) in favour of moving potentially hundreds of miles away to begin a new life at university as an independent, self-sufficient adult. Sounds appealing, right? Only joking- uni may not be entirely fun and games, but a large percentage of it is, and many of these often hilarious and occasionally ridiculous experiences will take place in the company of your brand-new family: your flatmates.
Like it or not, if you’re living in halls or have opted for shared accommodation next year, you will soon be getting used to living life in the close proximity of 5-10 other people, at literally all times. Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds, and you’ll soon get used to having to work your life around bathroom rotas, cleaning duties and kitchen schedules, all of which are a hell of a lot easier when you know and like your flatmates. Enter me! I am here, as a seasoned student and trialled-and-tested Fresher, to introduce you to your future flatmates before you’ve even been assigned your room. I guarantee you will be living with at least a few of the stereotypes below, so read on and prepare yourself. Allow me to introduce you to your new flatmates…
The Ring Leader
This flatmate seems to have an endless number of friends and never enters the flat without them. You know when they’ve arrived because it sounds as if a herd of elephants has interrupted your mid-afternoon nap by piling into your shared kitchen. You may find yourself wondering how this flatmate has already acquired so many friends, after only being at uni for a grand total of three days, and you’re not alone: that really is a mystery. Avoid awkward encounters with the mass of strangers in your kitchen (who seem to spend more time in there than you do!) by keeping snacks in your room rather than the kitchen; you can thank me later!
The Loner, aka The One who never leaves their room
This flatmate is almost the polar opposite of the one previously discussed in that they do not seem to hoard copious amounts of friends in their room, nor do they ever seem to leave it. You will probably bump into each other once or twice across the year and exchange pleasantries, but that will be the extent of your relationship. They are nice enough and don’t seem to be particularly shy or unsociable, they are simply content with their own company, so don’t be offended if they don’t join in flat pizza night or movie marathons. Think of them like that spider you shut into your en-suite bathroom; you can’t see it, but you’re pretty sure it’s still there.
For many Fresher students across the country (including me), moving to university is really the first time they’ve ever had to cater for themselves when it comes to many aspects of life; including food. This often leads to a few weeks (or months, no judgement here) of ready meals, super noodles and ominous leftovers for breakfast, lunch and dinner: this is almost like a rite of passage for freshers. However, dotted across the halls of universities everywhere are the Gordon Ramsays and Jamie Olivers of the student world, who already seem to have an incredibly developed repertoire of dishes that they can whip up in just a few minutes with no trouble at all, while the rest of us are still trying to work out what this curly metal thing is (it’s probably a whisk, FYI). Learn from this flatmate, and hopefully in second and third year you won’t still be eating cereal for dinner.
This flatmate is like Marmite in that you either love or hate them. Their enthusiasm and seeming passion for nights out on the town is super useful and motivating when you’re a fresher trying to make new friends, but come January when the rest of you have waved goodbye to multiple nights out on the trot in favour of revising for the fast approaching exams, the appeal of this flatmate’s need to party will soon wear thin. A great tactic in dealing with said partygoer is to simply pretend you’re not in; don’t answer to their ceaseless knocking on your door and eventually they will find some other reveller to hit the town with, leaving you to get on with revision (or watching an entire Netflix series, your call) guilt-free and in peace.
The Drop Out
A sad inevitability of uni life is that along the way, at least one of your flat or housemates will drop out of their studies and move back home, leaving your flat with an eerily empty room. Rumours may develop that a new student will be moving in, in which case you might find yourself feeling strangely protective of that empty room, unsure of how a new flatmate would impact the dynamics of your flat or impinge on the legacy of your previous flatmate (#neverforgotten). But just think of it this way, one less flatmate is one less person on the bin duty rota, so I’d welcome a new flatmate with open arms!
The One who’s never in
You won’t know much about this flatmate (you might catch their name and their subject, nothing more), but one thing that you do know about them is for certain: they are never in their room. Where they spend all of their time is something of a mystery, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be on campus or in the library. They will pop in occasionally for a minute or two, presumably to restock their supplies for their next few nights away, but that’s the only time you’ll really hear of them. This may lead to you almost forgetting who this flatmate even is, and mistaking them for an intruder during their infrequent visits to the flat. But don’t worry; after all, they are still paying the same extortionate rental fees no matter how little time they spend in the flat, so it’s no skin off your teeth!
The Twisted Fire Starter
Okay, so maybe I got a little bit carried away with the branding of this flatmate. They don’t actually get a weird kick out of starting fires, but what they seem able to do constantly is set off the fire alarm. Whether this is at 8 am or 11pm, from a cooking incident or being overgenerous with their air freshener, this flatmate is almost guaranteed to set off the fire alarm at least once a week, and their apologies will soon wear thin. Once you’ve had to drag yourself out of bed and throw on some clothes to head out into the cold night to be registered, simply because they burnt their toast, you will find yourself growing impatient with their constant clumsiness.
So, there you have it, folks. You have now officially been introduced to your future flatmates. As you can see, they’re a diverse bunch of people; a mixed bag, if you will. They may not all end up being your BFFs and I’m sure there will be at least one you simply cannot stand, but try to remain civil for the greater good of the flat. It’s only one year, after all…
By Elise Harvey