Okay I’ll be real with you guys, I cried when I first moved in to my uni flat. My family had just left. It took me some time to adjust to living at university. I didn’t really leave my room or speak to anyone for the first 2 days. Crazy right?! I was genuinely so scared to move to uni because it was my first time being away from my family, who i’m really close with. I didn’t know what to expect…
I lived in the Meadows and had a room on the top floor. I shared a bathroom with another girl, who actually became one of my good friends. She was the first person I spoke to and invited me down to the kitchen to meet everyone. I’m in my 3rd year now and I am also still friends with her and 5 other people who also lived in my flat.
I was scared and didn’t know how to make friends with my flatmates, but I was lucky enough to develop strong friendships with my flatmates. I am going to share just how I did it, to help you create strong friendships when you move into uni.
- Take the first step
I was lucky enough for my flatmate to introduce herself to me first. But sometimes its important for you to take the first step and introduce yourself to your flatmates. It will make you seem more approachable and people will feel comfortable to talk to you. Your all in the same boat, living in a new place with new people, feeling very nervous. Dont worry too much and you will be fine!
- Be open minded
I learnt that not everyone has had the same experiences as me and that we all have our own way of doing things. And sometimes people may not know how to do certain things that you can do. The best thing to do is not judge but help each other. For example, one of my flatmates had never used a washing machine before uni, so I went to the launderette with him and showed him how it worked. He was very grateful and that’s how our friendship started.
- What do you guys have in common?
I’m from London and I initially found myself gravitating to other Londoners too. However I also shared common interests with my other flatmates which made us really close. I love watching TV series, musicals and the latest Netflix shows and a few of my other flatmates did too, so we bonded over that. When we were free we would watch shows together.
So what are your hobbies? Is there a show that your obsessed with? Find out if anyone else shares the same passions as you, start a conversation and find out more about your flatmates.
- Respect each other’s personal space
It’s lovely to chill together in each other’s rooms and go out together; but remember the importance of personal space. I always say ask before you do. Because living with people for the first time can be hard and it’s best to find out what they do and don’t like early on.
- Communication is key
We had a group chat where we spoke about anything and everything. I would suggest making a group chat with your flatmates, so you can always keep in touch and stay updated. You all are most likely first years and the experience of living at uni is probably new to you all, so if you have any problems or want to find out things about your uni, ask your flatmates! They will probably be experiencing the same thing as you or will be able to provide you with some advice.
At the University of Essex, every flat has a Resident’s Assistant (RA) who’s role is to help all students settle into the flat and organise flat events and meetings. So if you have an idea for an event or would like to have a meeting with your flat mates, speak to your RA and see if they can set that up for you.
- Organise Events with your flatmates
Monopoly game nights were hilarious! They got everyone together and brought out our competitive side. Even though a lot of people cheated, it was quite funny and a great opportunity to relax and bond with each other. We also organised a special Christmas dinner and secret Santa, that was probably one of the funniest nights I had with my flat mates. To become friends with your flatmates, you need to do things together. Plan a games night or maybe decided to go out for a cheeky Nandos :), its upto you. But make the effort, it will show them that you care.
I hope these tips help you, it’s great being friends with your flatmates, you get to learn new things and discover yourself. Remember to enjoy every moment of your first year because it’s the beginning of something special!