For many students, going off to university will be the first time you’re living on your own, away from your family, for an extended period of time.
By “living on your own”, we mean you’re probably going to be sharing a flat with a bunch of other students.
Learning to live with complete strangers is a rite of passage, and when it comes to “housemate roulette”, getting a normal person that you can get along with swimmingly can seem like winning the lottery.
To help prepare you for what to expect, here’s a field guide on the different types of housemates you’ll probably come across at uni:
1. The Overachiever
These are the ones who join a lot of extra-curricular clubs and societies, end up on the student council, and still manage to maintain straight A’s in all their subjects. You’d ask them how they do it, but you wonder if they’re even human. They’re not at home much, as they’re usually out organising some student event, and when they are, they’re probably busy studying or completing assignments. (Or recharging in their pod.)
2. The Slacker
Slackers are home pretty much all. the. time.
Probably playing video games or just hanging out. Which makes you wonder if they ever go to class. Their room is probably filled to the brim with old pizza boxes and takeaway containers, as they’re too lazy to cook or go out to get food.
3. The Neat Freak
Neat Freaks want – no, need
– everything to be clean and tidy, and will often display OCD tendencies. They’re probably the ones scrubbing away at the kitchen tiles at 3am with a toothbrush. If you forget to wash your dirty dishes, you’ll be sure to hear some pointed tuts coming your way.
4. The Tornado
Ah, the arch nemesis of the Neat Freaks – Tornados leave a mess wherever they go. Upon returning home, they leave behind a trail of shoes, socks, their bag, and other items flung across the entire house. And let’s not talk about the state of the kitchen after they get in the mood to cook. You don’t dare venture into their room, as you’re worried that you’ll get lost in the mess, never to be seen again.
5. The Party Animal
Granted, lots of students make time to kick back and have fun, but Party Animals take it to another level. If they’re not out at a party most nights, then poor you – it’s your house that has become Party Central. It’s a common sight to come across them sprawled across the floor or sofa after sauntering back to the house at 5am.
6. The Ninja
Ninjas are either never at home or holed up in their room 24/7. You’re not even sure if they exist, or whether they’re a figment of your imagination, but once in a while, you’ll catch the door to their room closing or hear the faint patter of footsteps in their room.
7. The Morning Bird
Morning Birds are up and puttering about at the crack of dawn, getting ready for class or a morning jog. They’ll cheerfully greet you as you slouch over to the bathroom to get ready for another day. They’re often the ones earliest to bed as well.
8. The Night Owl
The exact opposite of Morning Birds, Night Owls are up and buzzing after sunset. Around midnight is the time they tend to get the most done. In the mornings before they’ve had some coffee, though, they only communicate in unintelligible grunts.
9. The Over-sharer
Over-sharers don’t exactly understand the concept of “boundaries”. They’ll tell you their life story within the first few minutes after learning your name. However, this isn’t always a two-way street. The moment you try to share some of your own stories, they’ll turn to their phone with a dismissive, “Oh, that’s nice” and turn the conversation back to them.
10. The Dictator
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Dictators want everyone to follow by their rules, and won’t tolerate any dissenting views. The fridge is probably evenly divided up using colored tape (heaven forbid if your groceries accidentally intrude into someone else’s territory), there’s a rota for whose turn it is to clean the bathroom, and if you want to invite some friends over, you’ll have to inform them ahead of time.
11. The Passive-Aggressive Scribe
If you were to ask then if everything’s okay, they’ll probably answer, “Oh, it’s nothing!” But inside, they’re a stewing mess of frustrated rage. While the Dictator makes no secret of their controlling tendencies, the Passive-Aggressive Scribe lets it all out via notes pasted around the house.
12. The Conjoined Twins
Conjoined Twins are basically a combo deal – wherever your housemate goes, so does their Significant Other. Their boyfriend/girlfriend spends so much time at your house that it’s like you’ve taken on another tenant, but without the benefit of reducing financial burdens, like bills and rent.
13. The Moocher
Once in a while, it’s all right to ask if you could have a bit of your housemate’s milk for your cereal if you forgot to drop by the shop. Treating other people’s food like it’s your own on a regular basis, however, is not cool. If everyone decides to split a pizza, they’re probably the ones to say that they’re a bit short on cash – after they’ve had their share. They’re also usually the ones who are behind in paying the bills or rent.
14. The Free Spirit
Free Spirits are all about healthy, green living. They’re usually vegans or vegetarians, and are quick to tell you, “No, that goes in the organic/recycling bin.” They cycle or walk everywhere, practice yoga, and are quite admirable as people…unless they get a bit preachy about your lifestyle choices, like when you dig in to a big, juicy beef burger.
15. The Drama Queen
Living with a Drama Queen can leave you feeling like you’re in a huge theatrical production. They’ve always got some hot gossip and there’s usually something dramatic happening in their lives, even though they “hate” drama. Approach with caution.
16. The Hipster
Hipsters can have pretty cool taste in music, fashion, books, and other hobbies. But sometimes it can get a bit much when they insist they were the “original”. They’re likely into artisanal foods and upcycling.
Okay, so we can’t all get perfect roommates. And besides, it’s not like we’re perfect, either. There are all kinds of people in the world, and learning how to live with those who are different from us in relative peace is an important skill to pick up, and one that will prove useful beyond uni life, too.
So stick to the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
(And for goodness sake, wash your dirty dishes!)
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