Guide to Living at University

Here’s our ultimate guide on living at university. We cover everything from how to make your room feel cosy, to amazing meals on a budget and how to navigate the dreaded cleaning rota.

Making your room feel like home

You can make your uni room feel like home with a few simple soft furnishing touches. Often landlords or accommodation management will not allow you to place things on the wall, use candles or paint anything, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it your own space. Picking bedding that feels comfy will immediately help, as a good nights’ sleep can help transform your outlook and help your mental health. In addition, having some cushions or a throw on your bed will help create that cosy space. For your work area you can attach a cork board onto the wall using command strips, which allow you to hang lighter items without causing any damage to the wall. You can customise your cork board with some favourite photos of family and friends, perhaps some positive quotes, anything that makes you feel happy and can power you through your studies. Plus, if you get a large enough size you can always have a weekly planner on one part to help you keep organised with lectures, seminars and social plans. Plants provide oxygen for living spaces and adding a few leafy additions to your room can really make a difference. If you aren’t so green fingered maybe look for trusty plants that won’t need much attention – aloe vera is a brilliant plant for that! 

Making a feast on a uni budget 

Want to make a culinary feast but the budget isn’t looking good? Budget planning and hunting down cheaper alternatives is key as a student. When shopping look for supermarket own brand for staples – such as bread, fruit/veg and cupboard items. Whilst it may seem you are only saving pennies, they do add up and can make a difference to your monthly and yearly spending. Another thing to consider is meal prep. Sounds boring and time intensive, but actually a few hours spent cooking one afternoon or morning can set you up for a week or two of meals which you then freeze. Usually recipes are for two or four people, and having to cook for one can be an expensive option, so bulk cooking can give you an opportunity to try new recipes without breaking the budget. But most of all do not go food shopping hungover or hungry – as you will end up blowing your budget on comfort food! 

Navigating housemate issues in a harmonious way 

Living together with other students can be challenging. For some it may be their first place living away from home, or others they may have a heavy university workload – plus everyone has a different version of what they perceive as clean! The first thing to consider is understanding where your housemates are coming from. It will make it easier to have conversations as rather than butting heads, you will be able to adapt what you say based on what drives them. For example, for the ‘lazy’ person who sleeps a lot, is up at night but then never does their washing up and seems to forget the rota. Perhaps splitting chores and dividing them up will work better? They may be better at emptying the bins and being in charge of something that is a weekly task – rather than a daily. That said, everyone should be responsible for their own living space, which means that any conversations should be approached in a proactive and understanding way to avoid conflict. Often housemates will split up chores and have a rota, whether that’s weekly or monthly, and some – if issues can’t be resolved – end up deciding to all pitch in to pay for a cleaner.