Finally, you think, you’ll be sharing a house with people you get along with. You and your new best friends will live in harmony, throw bi-weekly house parties and cook morning-after breakfasts to melt away the sadness.
Chances are, however, that your student house will be – or at least become – a shit-hole. Lovingly, it will also be your shit-hole.
To help you get along with everyone after moving into a student house for the first time, here are some do’s and don’ts, from me, another student.
Don’t: move in with your boyfriend, girlfriend, significant other
When they said you were their forever person, you agreed and said you were theirs too. You lived in each other’s rooms in first year, after breaking up with your at-home-partners five weeks into the first term. You think it’s meant to be – but nooope. Don’t even entertain moving in together at uni.
At best, you will despise their foul habits, like chewing loudly or washing-up with only tepid water. At worst, you’ll break up after the first term and lose your sense of identity for a bit. Don’t be a fool and waste your best shagging years bickering with someone who can only cook three pastas.
Don’t: move in with a crush, fwb or someone you’ve slept with, either
Good news: you will probably get drunk and shag. Bad news: you live together and will probably keep on living together for ten months. Again, unless you like living in hell, do not do this.
Do: pay people back on time
“Oh for fuck’s sake, I would call an Uber but the app isn’t downloaded and I’m out of data.”
This is one of the oldest lines out there. In fact, all of your mates saw you message a “you up? x” text to the person with pink hair from the club. So pay up, stinge-o. Three quid for an Uber may not seem like much, but when seven people owe the one person money, shit really begins to add up.
Don’t: compare too much
Facts: one person you know will end up living in an extravagant six bed house with a garden.
Maybe their bank of Mummy and Daddy cruised through. Maybe they landed a miracle property. In either scenario, comparing their state-of-the-art dishwasher to your kitchen sink will only end in jealousy tears, so don’t do it. Also: who needs more than two toilets? Get a fucking grip.
Do: put quality over quantity
A ten-bed gaff with four bathrooms is all bulk MDMA deals and fajita nights, until you realise that harmonious, ten-friend-strong groups only exist in unrealistic American teen dramas. Meanwhile, you sleep on pillow-grot in Fallowfield’s dampest student flat.
Don’t: feel you have to be best mates with everyone in your house
If it turns out that you and your flatmates can’t make it through Love Island without someone having a passive-aggressive breakdown, and every other house seems to be cheers-ing to a new Mob Kitchen recipe every night – remember, this kind of drama is normal.
House 48’s Chorizo Rösti with Romesco Sauce may have looked divine on Instagram, but they’re probably arguing over washing up and nagging each other to transfer £4.36 to make it fair. At least your plain basmati rice only means one pan to clean.
Do: make sure your mates get home OK
Unless someone has completely oversold their afters, hundreds of people won’t be heading back to the same location after a night out, like in student halls. One for the practical heads: turn on Find My Friends, make sure your mate doesn’t leave the club alone and walk back or Uber home together.
Don’t: steal shampoo
A little blob of TRESemmé here and there can’t hurt anyone, can it? What’s a little deluxe shampoo among friends? But we all know it won’t be once, will it, you glossy-haired thief.
See also: don’t steal food, perfume, socks, chargers, headphones, booze, razors (ew).
Do: take people’s milk.
Unless you’re living with a Victorian child who thinks you need a glass o’ milk a day to keep those bones strong, the milk in the fridge will probably only go in tea, coffee and the occasional failed white sauce in a just-about-edible lasagne.
Do: save the planet
Recycle your wine bottles and actually have a waste bin and a mixed recycling bin. Also: stop stressing that you’ve given yourself salmonella from a poorly attempted chicken jalfrezi, and go veggie every once in a while – it works out cheaper anyway.
Do: make it nice
Some fairy lights, a plant, a hanging print of Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”, and voila: your living room no longer looks like a dodgy lip injection clinic’s waiting room.
Do: weed rounds
If you smoke together a lot, take it in turns to go and pick up. It beats begging everyone for a few quid each time you want to have a joint.
Do: a cleaning rota
No house is above a weekly rota that says who puts the polish on what and when. It will never work itself out on its own. You don’t want to live in filth.
Do: try to cook for each other occasionally
Even if the food is inedible, sharing bottles of wine over dinner is far more sophisticated than mixing Berocca into vodka at yet another pre-drinks.
Do: remember you’re all in the same boat
If all else fails, rest assured that your dysfunctional student household will be united against a shared enemy: the landlord. Your university years won’t be the most financially stable, drama-free or hygienic of your life - but they will probably provide the best stories. So quit worrying that someone’s stolen your milk, cook each other some dinner and try to enjoy them.