For many students, going to university will mean moving out of their childhood home, away from family and friends, and into a city they know little about, living with people they have never met before. It can be daunting, and it is perfectly normal to feel nervous about such a big life change.
We are sure you will love living in our Ocean City and enjoy everything Plymouth has to offer, and we hope you make friends for life whilst at university but remember that it will be an adjustment at first and that everyone will settle in at their own pace and in their own way.
We have put together some advice on how to go about making friends with your new roommates and learning to live with new a group of people for the first time...
1. If you are one of the first people to arrive in your student halls or house share, offer to lend your new roommates a hand with moving their stuff in.
This is a great way to introduce yourself and show that you are friendly and willing to offer your time to help others. As it is a physical activity, it also means you don’t have to fill all the silences with conversation, which can take the pressure off when you first meet someone.
2. Leave your door open.
Leaving your bedroom door open when you can create an open environment where your new roommates will feel more comfortable popping their head in to say hi or inviting you to join them in the lounge for a drink or a movie. A closed door suggests that you don’t want to talk or that you want to be left alone.
3. Make sure you don’t spend all your time in your room.
Try to spend time in communal areas like the kitchen and lounge or if you accommodation has a games room. It might be tempting to hide away in your bedroom, but sadly this is not how you are going to make friends. By hanging out in social areas you will be around whenever anyone pops in and you can invite them to stick around watch a movie or have a coffee and chill.
4. Pack some board games or drinking card games.
Although lots of students will have Freshers plans and might want to head out into the city for their first night in Plymouth, some students may want to spend the night in after a busy day of travelling and moving in. Having some indoor games to play are a great way of getting everyone together and having some fun on the first few nights.
5. Arrange to meet your new roommates outside of your accommodation.
To establish more meaningful friendships, try asking your house mates to meet up for a coffee during the day or to drop by the SU for a pint and a game of pool after lectures. Meeting up for social events outside of your house allows friendships to flourish with your roommates so they don’t just become people you cohabit with. There are so many lovely spots in Plymouth to meet up, and lots to do and get involved with at the SU during Freshers and throughout the academic year. Check out our events calendar for activities and events and purchase any tickets you and your roommates may need.
6. Be open to forming new friendships with people who are different to your friendship group back home.
You may have been placed into a student house where your peers have similar interests and hobbies, or you may find yourself with a group of people who you wouldn’t usually hang around with. Make sure you are patient and give everyone a chance to settle in and show their personality, and don’t dismiss someone as a potential friend just because they are different to your friends back home. University is a place rich in diversity and to experience everything university life has to offer you need to embrace people with new ideas and ways of life. Most importantly, never let anyone feel not included. Make an effort to find out what your house mates enjoy doing and what things you could do together that you will both have fun doing. Find those similarities you share but equally embrace your differences.
7. Understand that everyone has different social batteries.
Some people are more extroverted, and others are more introverted. Keep in mind that your roommates may not be as social as you are, or maybe you are not as social as them. Sometimes when you arrive at university and suddenly have so many people to meet and events to attend, you can feel pressured into making an appearance at everything you are invited to, but you don’t have to. And equally, if you are someone who has the energy and is a social butterfly who wants to go everywhere and see everyone, understand that not everyone is like that and don’t feel disheartened if you flat mates need a little space to themselves sometimes. Respect each other’s social batteries and don’t make anyone feel guilty for what they do and do not want to do.
8. Establish a cleaning routine with your new roommates.
Student halls and house shares often get messy and disorganised very quickly due to the number of people living under one roof and everyone’s busy student schedule. To avoid one person always cleaning up after everyone else, work out a fair cleaning routine with your flat mates to ensure that everyone is happy and contributing to making your living space a nice place to be. This could be allocating certain chores to individuals, or creating a timetable where one person does all the cleaning on one day, and the following week someone else takes over.
9. Keep in mind that everyone will have a different schedule and be respectful to keep the noise down for those who need to rest.
We understand that many students will want to have party nights and stay up late sometimes whilst at university, especially when it is the weekend, or a holiday period. Do consider other people’s schedules though when planning for noisy nights in, for example, does your roommate have a part-time job or an exam they are preparing for? These people may not appreciate being kept awake and losing out on sleep before a work day or a day spent at the library revising. It is worth checking with your roommates before planning any noisy social nights in to make sure everyone is happy, and you won’t be disrupting anyone who needs to get some good shut eye.
10. Understand that you won’t get on with everyone you meet and be mature about it.
Just because you are placed in the same student accommodation as someone doesn’t mean you will automatically get along. We are all different and will have different upbringings, morals, and lifestyle choices. It is perfectly ok to not make friends with everyone you live with, but it is important that you still respect one another and keep things civil. That being said, if you feel someone you are living with is not respecting you and you feel they are being unkind, you should stick up for yourself and express that you are unhappy with the way they are treating you. If you feel uncomfortable in your accommodation due to someone else’s actions and need some advice, please contact the SU Advice team who will be able to support you and try to help you to rectify your situation professionally.