Moving into your new student house at the beginning of the new school year can be an exciting time for many students. For some it offers even more freedoms and independence than student halls previously had, and it can be easy to start looking forward to living alongside your friends, as opposed to the students you may have randomly been assigned to live with in first year. However, once settled into your new student house and the new semester it can be easy to start feeling isolated and lonely. Suddenly you realise that your friends/housemates have their own private lives and commitments such as part-time work, studies and extra-curricular activities. So, what can you do to maintain your friendships and remain sociable whilst living in student housing? Here are some tips:
Start a house group chat
Whether its Facebook or WhatsApp you may have started one of these already in order to sort out the boring process of securing a house. However, using this to allow your housemates to know what you’re up to can help you plan activities to do together. Let your housemates know what you’re up to from time to time and invite them to come along if they wish. This way nobody in the house feels excluded.
Leave your bedroom door open
Having your bedroom door open allows housemates to see that you’re present and is a welcoming signal for them to come and enter. By giving up a slice of your privacy for a time indicates to others that you are open for them to enter your personal space to chat, rather than shutting yourself off from the rest of your housemates. I might not be that they don’t want to see you they may just think you don’t want to see them, so this is an easy way to clear any confusion.
Make Plans together
If you know that a special day/event is coming up plan something with your housemates to celebrate together. This can mean doing something simple like going out for food/drinks to celebrate someone’s birthday, or celebrating a public/national holiday. Important dates like this can be a good excuse to bring all housemates together.
Spend time in communal areas of your house
Spending your free time in the communal parts of your student house, such as the kitchen or living room area, allows you to interact and bond with your fellow housemates without either of you intruding into each other’s personal spaces. It also allows for you to spend time in each other’s company whilst doing mundane everyday things, such as watching television or making food.
Find common interests you can explore together
Discover what hobbies and interests your other housemates have. By finding common ground it can make it easier to find activities you spend your time doing together, such as watching your favourite TV shows, going to the cinema to watch the movie you’ve all been waiting to see or even going to a concert together. This way activities you may have done alone become shared and it’s a simple way of bonding and getting to know your housemates better.
Introduce your housemates to your friends
Not every student ends up moving in with their closest friends at university for a multitude of reasons. If your friends don’t live with you invite them round to meet your housemates. By doing this everyone can get to know one another, meaning that when plans come up it can be much easier to invite your housemates along.
Whilst student housing will always be a weird anomaly it doesn’t mean it has be a bad thing. Make the most of the time living with different people and if you make the effort with them, they will surely make the effort with you.