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Surviving Student Accommodation: How Getting On With Your Flatmates Can Help You To Secure That 1:1

Estimated reading time: 7 mins

Setting off for your chosen college or university is an all-around emotional, nerve-wracking and down right stressful experience. Not a very sugar-coated explanation of the day you fly the nest – but accurate. You’re saying goodbye to your parents and family home, and embarking on one of the most difficult yet rewarding three years (or more) of your life. You are also moving in with a person or people that you have potentially never met or even spoken a word to before in your life. It can feel very odd, and no matter how confident in yourself you are – you can’t help but wonder whether you are all going to get on and if they’ll like you. Nine times out of ten, you will bond as friends and have one of the best years of your life – and potentially make a few friends for life in the process. If you are one of the fortunate ones who find great companionship, you may worry that these newly formed friendships will distract you and take you away from your important studies – after all that is what you came to university to do. However, there are actually plenty of advantages to having a comfortable and friendly flat-life, and one of those is that your flatmates could actually contribute to you getting a better grade. In no way does this mean that they should do the work for you – obviously – but there are plenty of ways they can help, without putting pen to paper on your behalf.

Open Door Policy

If you are living in a flat of two or more people, you will have a long corridor of doors that can be a little daunting on your first day when you turn up, and they are all closed. But as everyone gets to know each other, those door stops come in handy as everyone begins to operate an open door policy. This can be metaphorical or literal, however, it opens the door for a free flow of communication between everyone. This really helps when it comes to the logistics of flat cleaning, and bin changing – and gives you an array of people to rant to if you have a bad day. The pressures of university or college life, the late nights from the inevitable partying, or the 3 am unexpected smoke alarm testing from your flatmate who has had too much to drink and is currently trying to fry bacon. Badly. It can all get to be too much. Sometimes you just need someone to talk to and get everything off of your shoulders. Yes, you will have friends on your course, but sometimes you may need to vent about them or aspects of your course that are frustrating you or getting you down. Having someone who is distant from your course and studies will be invaluable to you.

Support Network For Studying And Essay Writing

We have all been there – you have a deadline in just a couple of days time, but the motivation to actually do any work is nowhere to be seen. On your most uninspired days, your flatmates will be the supporting boost you need to get to the library or finish your reading for the week. You can plan study sessions with pizza and fizz, where you can teach each other what you need to know for the test. Not only will you pick up a few new facts along the way, but it is also a well known fact that if you can teach something to someone, then you truly know the subject inside out, ready for any questions your exam will throw at you on the topic. Talking through things can also help you to get your head around even the most complicated topics and terminology, and you can keep each other focused and on track when one of you starts to lack energy.  You can create competitions to see who can write 100 words quickest – anything that puts the fun back into learning and studying. When you move in, a common gift from the university is a large wall calendar with the term dates clearly displayed – you and your flatmates can fill this in with your deadlines and work out a schedule that works for all of you. You can also put any home visits or flat socials on here so that you can keep up with each other’s whereabouts – keeping each other safe.  

They Can Help You To Play Hard As Well As Work Hard

You may have heard from many people who went to college or university when they were younger that your university years are the best years of your life. Though they may have got a good grade, they definitely did not spend all of their time in the library. For the workaholic in you, you’re going to need someone to pull you away from the work once in a while and let your hair down. There are even some people that base their decision to go to university on the party scene alone – not condoning that decision in any way – and you can see why. University bars are the cheapest around, with even cheaper student nights. They usually throw fantastic Halloween parties, and events through the year to entice students in and compete with all the other clubs and pubs in the area. You may have a student union that regularly throws social events, but there will also be dedicated student bars and clubs around town. Usually, universities will have a freshers week to welcome you to campus and get you used to the night scene. These will include foam parties, paint parties, and fancy dress – so make sure you’re not always wearing your best pair of shoes or newest dress. You will be inundated with fun nights out so that your flatmates will ensure that you get away from your desk or the library for a few hours. Remember these few tips though: never leave your drink unattended, never leave the club by yourself – always stay with a friend, and always drink responsibly.

Employees Look For A Well-Rounded Person

You may have heard the well known saying that a 2:1 is more desirable to an employer as it shows that you are a well-rounded person. Though this may be true for some employers – potentially – a 1:1 and lots of life experience will put you on top of any competition when it comes to your dream job. If you lack confidence when it comes to some social situations, or travelling makes you anxious, your flatmates could be the confidence boost you need to say yes to new experiences. Joining a society, taking up a new hobby, or going travelling in your time off, are all things that contribute to life experience and your CV. Especially if you travel with a charity to help those less fortunate, it shows that you are willing to work for things you believe in and that matter to you – even if you are not getting paid. That being said, a little bit of advice – charity volunteer work is the only unpaid work which you should ever accept. A lot of employers think that the offer of experience for an undergraduate or new graduate is enough – but it is still your time and expertise – and that deserves at least minimum wage. There will be industry unions – for example, NUT for teachers and Equity for performers – that will blacklist any companies that pay under minimum wage, so be sure to look out for that.

They Can Open Up New Opportunities

It is very likely you will have flatmates that are on different courses to you, and with that will come opportunities you wouldn’t hear about unless it were through them. A lot of course leaders will pinpoint different events happening around campus, or close by off campus, that relate directly to the course. However, just because you aren’t studying the course doesn’t mean you will not be interested in experiencing other niches. Open mic nights, dance and theatre performances, exhibitions at museums, special guest talks about new developments in the industry – you may surprise yourself with what you find interesting. It’s a good way of practising your networking skills and meeting new people. Remember, your social media when you are studying is no longer a tool just to stay in contact with your friends – but to build your own network of professionals. Getting out into the world as much as possible, and connecting with as many students as possible, will be invaluable to you when you graduate. You will not only have an address book of trained professionals you can call upon – you may have some contacts that climb extremely high within your chosen field, and be good contacts for opportunities and advice – especially students who are further into their education journey than you.

Going into your halls on your first day, open-minded and ready to have the best three years of your life, will be one of the most important moves you make.

 

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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