Your housemates can make or break your university experience

Breanna Khameraj
January 18, 2024
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Before signing your lease, make sure to read the fine print on the people you may be living with

Aside from obtaining a higher education through post-secondary institutions, university can be considered to be a time when students gain their independence - especially if they were to move out of their childhood home.

The adult responsibilities of grocery shopping and doing your own laundry finally begin, and we aren't able to rely on our parents anymore. Moving away from home also creates opportunities for character-building as students may need to live with a variety of individuals who may be unfamiliar to them.

With many student leases coming to an end and house-hunting season in full swing, it's no surprise that many of us may be reflecting on our prior housemate experience.

Whether it's your first time house-hunting as a student or your last, it's important to know that the people you will be sharing a home with have the power to make you feel part of a second family, or despise every moment of your academic year.

Don't get me wrong, not all housemates make there are always positive moments with housemates that can overshadow the annoyance you experience. Yes, you may fight about them always stealing your food, even when you write your name on the container. However, at the end of the day, when they need advice, you're always more than happy to talk with them about whatever troubles you.

I would say these are the best kinds of housemates. Although you may have to remind each other to take your laundry out of the dryer machine because it's been sitting there for a few days, they are motivational and comforting. These types of housemates make you miss home a little less.

On the other hand, we have the housemates that make you regret moving to a post-secondary institution so far from home.

Although no one intends to be an unfavourable housemate, we don't always get along with everyone we meet.

At such a diverse university, it's no surprise that our housemates were raised differently from us.

However, this often leads to conflict within the house. Someone may have to pick up the slack or provide constant reminders for everyone to pull their weight within their house. There may be an unfair division of household chores or overall your personalities don't match causing other lifestyle conflicts.

It's not favourable to live with people who you cannot agree with on simple things such as buying house supplies or are inconsiderate of your preferences like being excessively loud or passive-aggressive in the house group chat.

Elements such as these can break your university experience because you become miserable within a space where you are spending the majority of your time. The energy should be welcoming. You shouldn't be mentally exhausted anytime you think of heading back to your room. By experiencing these negative feelings, we begin to associate school with the unpleasant situations we constantly experience with our housemates.

Overall, we either get really lucky when gambling for housemates or we get placed into situations that make us regret moving out of our childhood homes.

Although I don't think there's a way we can avoid this completely, there are some preventative measures we can take to avoid this even before the lease is signed.

For example, creating a group of people to rent an entire house with you rather than looking to rent a room for yourself alone ensures that you personally know your future housemates. This can help avoid conflict as you may have better insight into their personality, lifestyle and their living preferences. If this doesn't work for you, you could also look for parts of houses to rent like the basement where you would only need to convince one other friend to move in with you.

It is very important to know who you are living with before you sign the lease.

In the event that you are living with random people, set house rules that accommodate everyone's lifestyle in some capacity and remember to hold mutual respect. At the end of the day, you are tied together by a lease. If this still doesn't work, find some trusted friends to laugh about these issues with and think about seeking other alternative living solutions next year.


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