Living in shared accommodation can be one of the most daunting things about moving into university, so much so that I myself opted for a single room. Being in such close proximity to another person for nearly an entire year just seemed scary. However, I always wondered how different it would be to live in shared accommodation. Overall, I interviewed 6 different flatmates and asked them each 5 questions.
Question 1: What are the benefits of shared accommodation?
#1: You don’t feel like you’re isolating yourself when you’re in your room, as you’re talking to your roommate or even just being in the presence of another person. You normally create a nice bond with your roommate and it’s a great way to make your first friend at uni.
#2: It’s often cheaper than the other accommodations AND I have an en-suite in mine. You can also learn each other’s schedules so if you want the room to yourself for a bit, you can make sure you’re there when your roommate is out.
#3: Sharing a bathroom with one other person is great as you know if there’s an issue, you can sort it out between you. My flat is also relatively big (28 people) so there are a lot more people for you to get to know. This is helpful if there are some people in the flat you don’t get along with, as there are other people in the flat you will get on with. Especially for us in Woodland Court, there’s a large social area for everyone to sit and chat or watch TV. The rooms are also larger to fit two people, which makes it easier to socialise in your room. The price is also pretty great!
#4: You get to live in close proximity to someone, so you build a strong relationship with them quickly. You can also choose who you live with, for instance, my roommate and I knew each other before university, so it helps remove some of the nerves you may have. It’s also very cheap.
#5+6 (These guys are roommates who did the interview together): You’ll never be able to feel alone, there’s always someone else there to talk to and help you through hard times. Sharing prices for things like toilet paper and cleaning products. If you’re not feeling well, there’s always someone who can grab something from the shop or make you a cup of tea. You can also cook and do laundry together!
Question 2: What are the challenges of shared accommodation?
#1: Sometimes if they’ve had a bit too much to drink, they might lock the door, meaning you can’t get inside (although you can just call the 24-hour Security team if this happens). Also, there’s always a chance you won’t get along but the likelihood of this happening is slim. We’ve only had three people move out so far, and there are 28 of us!
#2: Sometimes there’s a lack of privacy when sharing a room with someone else, with certain things being harder to do. But if you just discuss everything at the start, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
#3: If you don’t know who your roommate is going to be, it can be a leap of faith, which can be quite unnerving. The fact that our kitchen is shared between 28 people means it can get quite messy and dirty, although if everyone cleans up after themselves, it’s not an issue. The lack of personal space, at first, can be quite daunting but you soon get used to it.
#4: Sometimes you need to set baselines between yourself and your roommate, and make sure you’ve talked about certain possibilities. Also, you are obviously two different people so there will be clashes between you, but that happens in any relationship.
#5+6: Different schedules can be challenging e.g. if someone has a 9am lecture when the other person starts at 12 it can be annoying for your both as the person sleeping doesn’t want to be woken up whereas the person who’s woken up, doesn’t want to have to be quiet. In general, all of us need personal space and living in shared accommodation makes it quite difficult, so you just need to organise yourself.
Question 3: Do you enjoy sharing a room?
#1: Yes, 100%. My roommate and I get on really well! We do have our differences, but so does everyone with everyone, so it’s not that big of a deal. I especially enjoy how close my roommate and I are. I do honestly love and cherish them so much!
#2: Overall yes, although sometimes I do question whether I enjoy it. I think if you’re a social person you’ll like sharing, I just sometimes prefer to vibe in my room alone.
#3: Although I am looking forward to having my own room next year, I’m happy I did share this year. It’s an experience that I think everyone should try at least once.
#4: Yeah, I enjoy it quite thoroughly! It means I get to spend time with my friend and you always have someone nearby if you just want to talk with someone. You also get closer to your roommate which is always a good thing. The deep, midnight talks are also an added bonus.
#5+6: Yeah, we do! I don’t think we would have made it through the first semester without each other. Sharing a room also teaches you a lot about yourself and dealing with other people. It basically prepares you for marriage! You see each other at your worst and your best.
Question 4: Would you recommend sharing a room?
#1: I’d say yes. The price of the room is very cheap and that includes food and drink credit that we can spend around campus. Your roommate can also become your closest friend. The en-suite is pretty sick too!
#2: If you’re a social person or don’t have a lot of money, I would say shared accommodation is for you. Just make sure you try and socialise outside your room as well as in it, as otherwise, you narrow your friendship avenues.
#3: I would recommend it if you’re on a budget or quite a social person. Even if you aren’t social, living in shared accommodation will take you out of your comfort zone and help you make friends. Also, where else would you get this sort of experience, living in such close proximity to another person (excluding family)? It helps you become more understanding, selfless and patient.
#4: If you’re someone who’s fairly easy-going I’d definitely recommend it. It’s also very cheap so it means you can have more options food-wise on what you can do/eat. The low price also means you can save money up for the following years.
#5+6: You have to be a specific type of person to live in shared, not just go into it blindly. You should be open-minded and comfortable with changing environments. You need to know a lot about what you need and not be afraid to share that with the other person.
Question 5: What’s your favourite ‘thing’ about shared accommodation?
#1: Probably having a close roommate. It means that I don’t feel alone in my room and that it’s much harder to isolate myself. If I get sad, there’s always someone there to cry to or cheer me up.
#2: I’d say having food and drink credit is my favourite thing. Going to the Lime Tree and getting a pizza after lectures and knowing the money isn’t coming from your bank account is always a plus.
#3: There’s always someone there to talk to, so if you come back from a bad night out or you’ve had a bad day, you can discuss it with your roommate, and they can help you feel better.
#4: Living with someone else, you can depend on each other and if one person is going shopping you can ask them to buy you something. You just build a lasting relationship with each other.
#5+6: Honestly, just having another person there is the best thing about sharing as you can talk to each other late at night and if one of us is scared, the other person will either hold our hand or get into the bed with us. Just being able to talk with the other person no matter what mood you’re in is really special!