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How to get on with your new flatmates, according to current students

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As the hectic first few weeks at university draw to a close, it’s time to get into a routine that will see you happily through first year and beyond – and part of that is learning how to live comfortably with people who aren’t your parents or siblings.

Whilst settling in to university halls or a shared house can be hard, there are a few simple things that you can do to make life easier for everyone – including yourself – and to ensure that your new flatmates don’t become enemies even before the first term has ended.

Current and former students from the University of Bradford have shared their hard-earned advice on moving out of home and sharing accommodation with others – and their top piece of advice is that you really do need to keep your living space clean and tidy.

Recent graduate and current MA student Rob Hartley told us that “Tidying up after yourself and doing your dishes is one of the quickest and easiest things you can do to maintain peaceful housemate relations, but it also one of the hardest things to motivate yourself to do!

“Studying, socialising, and making the most of sports clubs and societies and the city can quickly take priority over vacuuming and taking the rubbish out.”

The students and alumni who participated in the survey also suggested making a rota for cooking and cleaning, and buying shared cleaning products to avoid arguments.

The students also said that cooking meals together is a good way to bond with your housemates, as well as pinning your mobile number on the notice board in case of emergencies.

Being patient and understanding with each other in general was also considered a must-do for housemate harmony.

Playing loud music was rated as the quickest way to annoy others, especially when they’re likely to be asleep. However, attending parties, events and get-togethers was suggested as a way to settle in more quickly and ensure that you meet people in similar circumstances to your own. Something as simple as wearing fancy dress on a themed night was named as a fast-track way to bond with people due to the great memories and hilarious pictures.

Rob said: “Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and get talking to random people in your halls of residence. Remember that they are new and just as nervous as you are. When I first moved to Bradford I tried to be really positive about everything and talk to everyone, even when I was feeling homesick. It helped me settle in and make good friends.”

Predictably, one big concern for the students questioned was saving money. They suggested finding local deals and discounts and taking advantage of discount vouchers.

The University of Bradford’s Director of External Affairs, Mark Garratt, says: “Moving away from home to university is in equal parts exciting and terrifying for many students.

“The University and the Students’ Union have many methods to support new students, but in particular joining a sports team or society is a great way to develop new interests and friendships.”

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