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Tips for getting along with your new housemates

By Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, on 19 September 2023

Two female students sitting together with a cup of tea in their kitchen
The main thing that I was worried about before starting university was what would it be like living with a group of people I’d never met before! It can seem very daunting, as realistically it might be the one and only time in your life you have to move in with people you’ve never met before that day, but it’s important to remember everyone is feeling the exact same! The majority of UCL accommodations have smaller flats than at other universities outside of London. This gives it a much more family feeling, which is really nice, and also it means you know everyone pretty well within the first week. I shared a flat at Schafer House with 4 others, and here are some tips based on my experience I would share to make that transition as smooth as possible:

  1. I would highly recommend bringing a door stop or similar to prop your door open for the first day or two, as it’s much easier to break the ice when you first move in rather than days later when you inevitably awkwardly run into each other in the kitchen in pyjamas! Make the effort to start a conversation and find out lots about your flatmates, after all, you will be seeing a lot of them, and also try and do something together to make this feel more natural, even if it’s as simple as a trip to the supermarket to get that first food shop. I first met my flatmate Dion the morning after I moved in, and within 5 minutes we were heading to Lidl, only really learning the basics about each other en route! Almost a year on, we are best friends at uni, living together next year and have also visited each other’s houses this summer. Obviously, you don’t have to be best friends with everyone but be open to getting to know your flatmates, even if they have very different interests to you, as it’s just nice to come home after lectures to unwind with people you can have a great conversation with over dinner.
  2. Another thing I would recommend is to bring something to share when you move in! I brought a box of celebrations to leave on the kitchen table with a note, and food is always a good way to win people over. My flatmate Jack then one-upped me with a large crate of beer, so this can have other advantages when everyone wants to make a great first impression!
  3. It’s natural to want to come across as very easygoing during freshers, but whatever you do, don’t do people’s washing up for them and don’t offer all your food to everyone either! Hold people responsible for keeping the flat tidy from the beginning, and then hopefully it should stay that way. Be firm but also understand that you are all learning how to look after yourselves together, and some people may need some extra help.
  4. Plan some nice things to do as a flat during the daytime, as well as just nights out. Over the course of the year no doubt you will go to lots of club nights or trips to the student bars with your flat, but it’s important to still socialise and have nice things to do together during the days when you have fewer lectures, on weekends or after exam seasons. As a flat we went ice skating, swimming in Hampstead Heath ponds and even went on a trip to Venice! We also watched lots of tv together: football matches, UCL competing on University Challenge and The Apprentice (a firm favourite!). This all helps university feel more homely, and can be combined with a trip to get lots of snacks!
  5. Finally, check up on your flatmates as without your family there it’s important you all look after each other, and in many ways, they are your family for the year and everyone needs someone looking out for them, especially in what will be a very busy year!

This blog was written by Emily, Medical Physics

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