First year is undoubtedly different from the rest of university life and your accommodation is a big part of this. Living in halls is a unique experience, whether you love it or loathe it. As such, it is important to remember that it is not just location that changes when you move into your second year house. Not only do you now have the responsibility of cleaning, paying bills and dealing with the landlord, but university pressure piles on as your marks in second year and onwards begin to count towards your degree. That is why it is vital to pick your housemates carefully. Things that might make someone a great first year flatmate aren’t necessarily the qualities you might appreciate in a year from now, and it’s good to be aware of the transformations that happen when a flatmate becomes a housemate.
The Party Animal
The Party Animal is a stereotype found in most first year flats. They go out every night and they seem to know everyone. As a result of this, a night on the town with them means you rarely pay entry and quick service at the bar is guaranteed. They might bring people back to the flat most nights, but it doesn’t really bother you, you’re out at least twice a week yourself! What’s the point of a 40% pass mark in first year if you don’t take advantage of it after all? However, when second year hits, all that changes – the majority of people buckle down and the number of spontaneous drunken nights decrease significantly. Not for the Party Animal though. They will resolutely go through their whole university experience in two states: drunk, or hung-over. While it might have been hilarious as a fresher, it may not seem so amusing at 2am on a Monday morning while you are stressing over an essay, and they are rowdily playing Ring of Fire in the lounge with ten of their ‘closest friends.’ Unless you have the unique ability to do your most effective revision intoxicated, stay friends with the Party Animal, but seriously consider whether you will be able to handle living with them out of halls.
The Neat Freak
Like the Party Animal, the Neat Freak has benefits both as a housemate and a friend. Usually the one to clean the house before the landlord comes round, or to take the bins out when everyone else forgets, the Neat Freak can be a useful ally to have. That is, however, on the condition that you can deal with their obsession; they rarely keep their habits to themselves and as a housemate of a Neat Freak, you will probably be dragged into their cleaning routines. So unless you can deal with cleaning the bath twice a day, find housemates who may be more accepting of your less than spotless habits. Similarly, if you fit the Neat Freak stereotype, avoid the slobs that are going to make you want to pull your hair out in clumps.
There is nothing wrong with working hard at university; a good degree is exactly what you should intend to gain from your experience. However, if you are considering living with someone whose studies are the sole focus of their life, remember that they probably will not be the most sociable of housemates. While this may not have been an issue during the bustling life of halls, in the confines of a much smaller house, this may result in a lonely living situation. The guilt you feel regarding how much more work they do compared to you might motivate you to do that extra hour of secondary reading, but it is important to weigh this up with the other qualities you want from your housemates; the Hard-worker can often turn into the recluse as the work piles on.