Moving away from home for the first time can be a daunting process, especially when you’re faced with living with people you’ve never met before.
For many fresher’s week means the start of lasting friendships that define their university life, but for others it proves more difficult. Either way, there are ways to make it work.
First impressions don’t always count
Your next-door-but-one neighbor may be more pop quiz than pub quiz, or wears flip flops in the middle of winter, but it doesn’t mean you can’t be friends. It takes time to get to know someone and the diversity of people you meet at university can be intimidating. Give people time, just because you don’t have a wealth of shared interests doesn’t mean you won’t get on.
So, someone isn’t buying their share of the milk, takes too long in the shower and wakes you up at 4am stumbling home and setting the fire alarm off trying to make toast. They’ll only truly realise these things are annoying you if you let them know. It may feel like you’re playing teacher, but the likelihood is that they’ve never lived away from home either and need to learn to adjust to those around them.
You might not be able to imagine watching Saturday night TV with the girl you share a wall with, but perhaps the person living across the hall can’t live without a weekly dose of Casualty either. The magic of halls is that you have hundreds of friends within a few hundred metres. Make an effort with those you meet in the corridor or at the bus stop, and get to know what halls your course mates are at. It’s highly likely that you’ll never have the same kind of living arrangements that you have in university again, so make the most of it.
If things aren’t going well, there’s always someone to talk to
You’ve tried – really tried – but you still feel you can’t handle where you’re living. There will be someone there to help. Every university offers a student support service, or you can speak to your university accommodation office or the Students’ Union. No one wants you to be unhappy and if it’s affecting your work it’s even more of a priority.
There are Facebook groups for those struggling with their living situations offering the opportunity for people wanting to swap rooms. One person’s Marmite is another’s favourite toast topping after all.
So, if your vision of film nights and Sunday roasts isn’t quite how your relationship with your new housemates has turned out, don’t waste time worrying you’re not having as much fun as everyone else. See it as a new opportunity to make friends in different ways and from different backgrounds – it’s likely you’ll be better off for it.