Getting to Know Your Flatmates!

Hey all! I hope you are well!

A couple of days ago I made a post about how you can get to know your flatmates before you get to Edge Hill (click here), but I also wanted to make a post about what you can do to ease yourself in and get to know them once you arrive too with a couple of tricks!

  • Don’t isolate yourself: seems simple, but if you can be a little shy sometimes, like me, then you might want to just hide in your room all of Freshers’ Week, But don’t! It makes it much easier to get to know your flat mates if you’re around to say hi before you all get stuck in to lessons. I took advantage of the common room that was in my Back Halls building and sat in there when I could.
  • Take advantage of Freshers’ Week: the events that are put on by the University and local businesses in Ormskirk on Freshers’ Week are meant to get you to socialise and settle in, so take advantage of them! Whether that’s going to the Freshers’ Fair and bonding over what free stuff you got (honestly, if you like free stuff like me, the Freshers’ Fair is a gold mine!) or going to the annual toga party and dancing around in a costume together, there’s so much to do with your new flatmates!
  • Go grab some food or drinks together: everyone loves going to ‘Spoons (Wetherspoons, for those who don’t know of that abbreviation, you’d be surprised how many people don’t!), so why not have your first flat ‘Spoons and get to know each other. There’s nothing quite like bonding over food or a pint of Dark Fruits (or something non-alcoholic if you don’t drink).
  • Play some silly games: there’s nothing funnier and more capable of breaking the ice with new people than Twister! I found it really made some nights go so well when meeting new people! Also, the University gave each Halls building the Edge Hill Monopoly during my first Christmas at the Uni, so there’s always board games like that too!

So those are just a few different things that I found useful when getting to know the people who I was living with for first year. It’s just nice to have some little ideas and tricks to help things along! I hope this post has helped and will help some of you reading this, but if anyone has any other ideas, I’d love to read them in the comments below!

Things to keep in mind when living with friends

Living with your friends sounds like the ultimate dream right?! Well, it really can be, but you need to remember that you and your friends are completely different people. You don’t truly know a person until you live with them and you may have a bit of a shock when you move in. Luckily I’ve complied a list of things to keep in mind when living with friends that should make your time as housemates as fun as you always imagined.

Different backgrounds
You and you friends will have undoubtedly come from different backgrounds. Whether that’s places, races, religions or even just a different family dynamic. This will always affect the way they live their day to day lives. You need to be respectful of your friend’s traditions, the way they keep their room and their schedules – whatever is important to them. In order to live harmoniously, you’ll have to learn to strike up compromises when your ideas clash with those of your friends. It’s not as hard as it sounds; for example, if you come from the kind of family where there is lots of noise and your friend comes from a small family and prefers silence in the house, you’ll have to talk it out and work out what level of noise is appropriate for the both of you to live comfortably.

Different ideas of clean
One of the biggest differences I had to deal with when living in a student house was mine and my friends’ differing ideas of how clean the house should be. I’m a self-proclaimed ‘neat freak’, I hate the idea of anything being less than spotless – which makes me a real pain to live with sometimes, but I’ve had to learn to accept that things never stay that way – which is totally normal. One way to combat this is to draw up a cleaning rota and stick to it. Each person has their own responsibilities to complete in their own time and then the cleaning isn’t just left to one person. It’s also good to dedicate one day a week to cleaning – a day that everyone is free – and then you have a bit of a routine going.

Boundaries
When you sign up to live with other people to sign up to seeing them at the worst as well as their best. There will be times when your friends feel low or act a bit moody. You need to establish from the beginning what their boundaries are and what’s best to do in those situations. Some people like to have people around them when they’re feeling sad and others want to be alone. Establishing and respecting these boundaries will make those times so much easier for everyone.

Chill time
One of the most important things to remember is to take time out. Enjoy living with your friends, don’t get so wrapped up in work that you end up ignoring them all year. Enjoy the time you have to do movie nights or video game sessions or whatever you enjoy doing. It’s incredibly important to bond!
Until next time! 🙂

Sharing Accommodation

It’s one thing sharing a home with your family but it’s a whole other sharing one with complete strangers. When you first get to uni it’s most likely that you won’t know your flatmates, Edge Hill, via facebook page does tend to encourage students to get to know their flatmates before Welcome Sunday by setting up groups for each building/set of buildings. This can be very helpful but nothing is going to prepare you for living in halls until you actually experience it. I absolutely loves my first year in halls, although most of my friends lived in different buildings I got along with my flatmates quite well. This post is intended to answer a few questions you might have about living in halls and how to combat any problems that may arise.

Getting to know your flatmates

The best way to get to know your flatmates is to spend time in communal areas like the kitchen. Staying in your room all the time is not going to get you anywhere if you want to make friends with the people you’re living with. Maybe arrange to go to social events with them or host a flat party? I found parties a great way to break the ice. Once you start talking to your flatmates you will hopefully find some common interests and develop friendships, making living together far easier.

Cleaning

I was lucky enough to live in accommodation that came with a cleaning service for the communal areas and being the neat freak I am, my room was often immaculate (if I do say so myself). But of course, between the times when the cleaning lady would come the kitchen would get pretty messy (with eight people sharing and all cooking different meals that’s not surprising). My advice to people who are or live with particularly messy people is to sit down with your flatmates and discuss the situation (avoid passive aggressive post-it notes!) and come to a conclusion wherein the offending flatmates do whatever it is they aren’t doing and the flat lives in harmony. This technique can also work for other disagreements or problems that may arise.

Alone time

It’s important to spend some time alone in your room, whether to do work or just chill out, you can’t be expected to be social all the time. Hopefully your flatmates will respect this, because after all everyone needs alone time. However if they worry about you or feel like something’s wrong, just politely explain to them that sometimes you need to chill on your own and its no reflection on them. This time is important as it will help you keep calm and will help in keeping the flat happy and friendly. If you’re all living in each others’ pockets some people are bound to start getting a little bit frustrated or annoyed, it’s human nature, so by taking occasional time to yourself you can limit the possibility of that happening.

Until next time! 🙂

A lesson in surviving a visit from your parents

Now that I’m in my second year I have found my self going out more and going home less. When I was in my first year I was practically on the train home every weekend and now I find myself not even planning to go home at all. Of course this means that instead my parents are coming up here to visit me. I love my parents and I love seeing them, but when you’ve been living the independent life it can often be a shock to the system having your Mum arrive and within seconds her telling you that what you thought was a spotless kitchen actually looks like it has just been ransacked.

One of the most important things when having your parents come to visit is avoid the spontaneity. For me this isn’t an issue as my parents live over two hours away but for some parents may just wish to ‘pop in’. Organising a visit gives you time to prepare, and by prepare I mean spend the days leading up to it tidying and arranging fruit so your parents don’t think you’ve been living off noodles for 3 months.

Once you know that your parents are coming and you have made the necessary arrangements you can begin to think about how you will entertain them for the day. In my opinion you can’t go wrong showing them your accommodation, introducing the flatmates and then taking them for a tour around your new home town. Be prepared for your parents insisting that you are in charge since this is ‘your home’ whilst simultaneously telling you off for one thing or another.

If you are stuck for ideas on what to do with your parents Charley’s blog has some great ideas for things you can do on the cheap or even for free:

https://blogs.edgehill.ac.uk/insideedge/2017/02/07/budget-days-out-for-liverpool-and-ormskirk/

As well as getting to see your family, them coming to visit you at university has many benefits. They often come up in the car to visit so can replenish your supplies and bring all the awkward sized items that you could never fit on the train. They can run you to the supermarket to stock up on ‘essentials’ whilst you work on your puppy dog eyes for when you get to the till as you think about your dwindling student loan. And last but not least the best thing about your parents coming to visit is the inevitable dinner you’ll go out for together, whilst you make the most of your parents hospitality.

Now obviously having your parents come to visit whilst you are in the midst of your new found independent lifestyle can be somewhat daunting. But make the most it. You may spend days anxiously awaiting their arrival, spend the day of their visit being on the receiving end of the 3 months worth of moaning that you’ve missed out on but once they have gone home you will feel a little sadness and that’s okay. Being away from home honestly makes you appreciate what you have both at university and at home as well and by being able to recognise what you have in both these environments really makes you realise how lucky you are.

 

Meeting your Flatmates

When you really stop and think about it, the whole concept is pretty strange. You’re driven by your parents to some random town you hardly know, left in a strange new flat with a group of people you know nothing about and for all you know could be mass murders (catfish anyone?) and then your parents leave you there to fend for yourself. There is no other situation for this other than university, and while it may sound pretty terrifying when you break it down, mine and most people’s experiences are pretty far from that strange scene I just created but why? Because this was definitely something I feared for before the big day!

Firstly, you can visit the campus as many times as you like before. I would definitely recommend going to open days and applicant days to get a feel for the place and town before making the leap to move in September.

Secondly, you can actually meet everyone in your flat before you move in via social media. I met the majority of my flat through Facebook freshers pages, which I shall point you in the right direction of when they go live. I found this really reassuring when I moved because I had already done the awkward introduction online and knew a little bit about everyone already making conversations so much easier.

And thirdly, everyone is in the same boat, which is really hard to remember but so true. The first day really is nothing to worry about, from my experiences, everyone is super friendly and everyone’s trying to make friends just the same as you are, so make sure you go out and introduce yourself to as many people as possible!

Move over Gordon Ramsay! Joke, we need help?!

Cooking in uni, well, where do I begin?

During freshers week you’ll be loving the freedom, meeting new people and eating what you want when you want. For most, cooking will be a new experience. For me, I was worried that I wouldn’t be ready, but after a few hours with my flatmates it became apparent that I had the most cooking knowledge (I was just as shocked as my mum when I told her).

Simple things like how to work the oven and to actually read the packet for temperatures and times seemed like common-sense to me, but I live with people who go for the stick it in and guess approach. How no one has suffered from food poisoning I’ll never know! At the beginning of the year I was adventurous, making lasagnes, trying my mums recipes and buying loads of ingredients. I wish I could be like that again, less money and healthier. Towards the end of the year it was more about having quick meals or anything to line the stomach for a night out. Ready meals, tinned soup and pot-noodles became popular favourites because they were easy to clean up and quick.

We tried flat meals, but apart from my lasagne, I couldn’t take more than a spoonful of someone’s food (sorry guys, but it’s the truth).

So yeah, learn how to do simple things like boil an egg and cook pasta. Get used to eating tinned food (beans, soup, anything Heinz), but most importantly learn to appreciate your family’s cooking before you come. After Christmas break, you’ll get what I mean!

Until next time…:)

Living with Strangers

For those of you moving into halls for your first year, it’s more than likely that you won’t know any of the people that you’ll be sharing a flat with. For me this idea was really daunting and before I moved in to halls I had a lot of concerns about how I would be able to feel comfortable and relax in a place where I didn’t really know anyone.

As usual I was worrying for nothing. I can only speak from my own experiences of course, but I found that the first few days were a bit weird because I was settling in to a new place, there were a bunch of people with accents I couldn’t quite understand and it was just overall a big adjustment. That said, I got to know my flatmates really quickly, and before the first week was up I felt utterly at ease in halls.

Something that made this transition easier was getting to know some of my flatmates before I moved in. When everyone was allocated their room over summer, a lot of people took to the Edge Hill social media pages to try and track down people living in the same halls as them. This way I found quite a few of my flatmates. Even just having one conversation beforehand let us get to know each other a bit, and gave me confidence because I knew that we’d have things to talk about when we did finally meet. That said, I got on just as well with the flatmates that I didn’t talk to previously, but if you’re nervous about meeting new people it can sometimes help to know what their interests are beforehand.

As much as I liked my flatmates, things weren’t always perfect. It’s very likely that the people you live with will all do things slightly differently to the way you do, ranging from how clean they like their kitchen to how loud they like to play their music. Good communication and compromise are key here.

I found living in halls to be great fun and, as intimidating as it seemed at first, I am so glad that I had that experience.

Some of my first year flatmates and friends at the Freshers Fair during our first week at Edge Hill. Can't believe this picture is almost 2 years old now!
Me and some of my first year flatmates and friends at the Freshers Fair during our first week at Edge Hill. Can’t believe this picture is almost 2 years old now!