Starting at a new University, in a new place, living with new people away from home can seem very daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. In this blog post, I will give you some tips about getting to know your flatmates and how you can become a big family; understand and cooperate with one another, and live under the same roof.
Especially in the situation that we are in at the moment, and the current climate and prospect of upcoming learning being semi-online, it is likely that as a Fresher, you will be spending quite a lot of time in your flat during your first semester.
Hopefully this post will help you to feel a little more at ease and learn how easy it is to get to know those around you (who you will be spending a lot of time with!), and going through all of the adventures of first year with.
Find a common interest.
Any way to get everyone (all 14 of us!) into the kitchen was a mission, but it was also a success when it happened! We found that playing cards or a different game like Heads up or Would you rather helped to give us something to do, rather than just sat trying to chat, it involved everyone and made them relaxed and in the mood to interact.
Knock on your flatmate’s doors.
You may think that if you do this, you will be deemed as the ‘annoying, needy’ flatmate, but this is probably not the case! The person behind the door is very likely to want to interact, but not know how to, or feel nervous about making that first move. People are likely to stay away in the ‘safe space’ of their room until there is a reason to move, so if you knock and form a little group in the kitchen, everyone will feel a bit less unsure and alone.
You are all going through the same process.
Even if you think ‘this is not my kind of person’, I can guarantee that you will have at least one thing in common – and that is that you are starting University. Whether you are from a different country, a different age, or a different gender; you share this commonality. Embrace it and ride the wave together.
Ask people about themselves – I’m sure they won’t mind!
Conversation should be two-way, but you find that people feel most comfortable and open when they are discussing personal things that they can relate to and that have happened in their life. So, without having to be so obvious as asking 21 questions, maybe just start chatting and integrate ‘is that where you grew up?’ or ‘I had two years out after school’ into the conversation which will help to keep it going, discover commonalities and learn about each other too.
Have a film night or a similar easy-going event to chill out and relax while still being together and getting to know each other with less pressure.
Attend events together!
Whether they are real-life, in person events, or virtual online ones, during Fresher’s week, going to events together is a great way to form a unit and get to know one another. The evening is when most of these happen, so you can even get ready and pre together!
Get to know each other first online
Having online contact is less essential when you’re actually living together, but beforehand a great way to start to form those connections, while still in the safety of your own home, is to talk online. Once you have been allocated a flat, there should be a Facebook page where people will comment with their flat and/or block, and hopefully you will be able to form a little group and start getting to know each other remotely.
Overall, please do not worry about your first few days/weeks starting University. Everything is new and it can seem a little (very!) daunting but, remember that everyone is in the same position as you! And, if you are open and friendly and want to chat with and get to know people, I am sure that they will be the same to you!