Domestic bliss or recipe for disaster?

— with additional reporting from Stephanie Bolton

Who you live with has a big effect on your university life. Photo: Grady First

Starting university is as much about new experiences as it is about education. With new ways to live your life, there are big decisions to be made — and a major one is who you decide to live your university life with.

Andrew Rowland, a fine art student, chose to live in a house with three other guys in his second year. Luckily for him, eight months on they are still his best friends.

Rowland said: “I think the important thing about living with your best friends is that you don’t have to make any special effort to see them, they all live in the next room, and it’s just an entertaining way to live. Especially when we all like doing similar things.”

Living with his best friends this year has reassured Rowland that he made the right decision: “I honestly don’t think I could rate it any higher. A nice house, cheap rent and amazing guys to live with.”

“We’re a nice, tight group of friends that are able to live and work together, whilst having fun at the same time. My only drawback would be my walk to the Greenstone each morning, but I don’t think that is enough not to live here again next year!”

20-year-old Natalie had a different experience when she moved in to a home. She had been with her boyfriend, Ed, for only two months when they decided to live together in their second year.

“Ed came to me with the idea of us living together. I felt really comfortable with him so early on and he spent so much time at mine anyway it was as if we were living together already,” she says.

“Plus it is much cheaper and I had a lot of problems with money last year.”

Natalie realised that she could be difficult to live with and was apprehensive about living with other girls: “I’m not an easy person to live with, I’m very messy and some of my friends had their reservations about that.”

“I’m not good with bitchiness either and I could see that with six girls living together this could be a big problem, especially as we didn’t all know each other very well,” she says.

Even though blissfully happy in her relationship, Natalie admits that her friends do treat her differently now: “I think the friends I was close to before I met Ed are used to a ‘single’ me, so they find it hard.”

“My friendships at university have definitely suffered from me being in a close relationship, but from my point of view it’s because people don’t understand that things have to change for you to be able to make a relationship work.”

Although she sometimes wants her own space, Natalie says that she’ll never regret moving in with her boyfriend.

Chris Colley, a second year student, decided not to live on campus during his first year to keep the cost down. “I save money by travelling in as I don’t have to pay for student accommodation. I travel from Ruskington, which is only about fifteen miles south of Lincoln.”

“It hasn’t affected my university work, but I am definitely restricted by my train timetable. I have to be aware that I can’t miss my train home,” he says.

Colley understands that living at home can mean that you miss out on important aspects of the University lifestyle such as socialising, but is not too bothered by it.

“I do feel like I have missed out on the experience in a way. I often have to skip social events to make sure I don’t miss the last train home. It does have its advantages though, I’ve managed to keep hold of both my part-time jobs!”.

Whilst any living arrangement has its good and bad points, it’s worth bearing a few things in mind when you begin to live with new people, whether it’s your best friend, your boyfriend, or complete strangers.

If you’re living in a shared house, you might want to stop any money arguments before they start by setting up a kitty to buy general household like toilet roll and washing up liquid.

Decide how much you will each contribute to the fund each week, and if there’s enough leftover after spending it on essentials, you could treat yourselves to a takeaway with what’s left at the end of the month.

Cleaning can be the end of domestic bliss in any situation, and a rota is one of the best ways to avoid arguments. A simple chart for taking out the rubbish and whose turn it is to have a general clean-up each week should be enough to keep everybody happy.

Honesty is definitely the best policy when it comes to the biggest sin of them all — taking someone else’s food.

If you desperately need a slice of bread for your lunch and no-one’s around to beg from, write a note saying what you took and that you’ll replace it as soon as you’ve been shopping. Flatmates are much more likely to forgive you if you admit to it and offer to replace it. You’re living with them, so it’s best to keep them happy.

One Response to Domestic bliss or recipe for disaster?

  1. Chris Wheatley says:

    Gripping and interesting as ever.