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How to Choose Who to Live with in Second Year

How to Choose Who to Live with in Second Year main image

Choosing who to live with in the second year of university can be tough, especially as there isn’t really one best way to do it. It doesn’t help that this time of year is tricky as you're trying to get all your first-year work done and prepare for exams, in addition to thinking about who you want to live with.

Don’t worry if you’ve not got it sorted yet, as you should have at least until March to decide who you're living with. If that process is tricky though, then here are some tips I’ve learned from my experience.

Choose friends from your course

I live with three other students on my course who I was friends with throughout the whole of first year. Around February we were all talking about how worried we were about finding a place next year and decided then that we would live together. Once we'd decided on that, finding a house was fairly simple.

Living together has been pretty straightforward too. It helps that we were already friends, so we knew we would work well together when all under one roof. One thing to watch out for, however, is that there's a difference between someone being a friend and someone being ideal to live with, but you sometimes have to take the risk and see. If you’re really good friends with someone but you could see your living styles clashing too much (maybe they’re messy and you’re not), you might want to consider living with someone else.

Choose friends from your current halls

Some people decide to live with people from their first-year accommodation instead. This seems to give a bit more variety in the flat and perhaps means conversations don’t tend to be as focused on what was covered in lectures and seminars that day.  It also means you'll have different timetables and therefore will be fairly independent within your flat.

Importantly, when choosing which of your friends to live with, try and choose those who have similar sleep schedules, eating habits, and drinking tendencies. If you’re not a fan of going out regularly, you might get annoyed when someone keeps inviting their friends around for pres and leaving the living room full of empty beer cans and bottles of wine. 

Choose friends from a society or sports team

Another alternative is to live with people you've met through societies or sports teams. It’s actually quite common for people in the same sports team to live together. Those houses can be pretty rowdy though, especially if you have six rugby lads sharing one little flat in London, but it’s fun all the same. On the downside, there's no skipping practice as you have the rest of the team to drag you along!

People you've met from other societies can be great too as you have the same interests and extracurricular activities. However, it could mean that you feel you spend a little too much time together. If you live together and do your hobbies together, you could feel a little suffocated. This can be true whoever you live with but it's something to think about.

Live with strangers

This may sound daunting but remember you didn’t know the people you currently live with this time last year either! There are websites such as where you can set up a profile and answer adverts of other people looking for housemates. You can put in the type of person you're looking for and also the type of person you are and then it matches you up. Most unis have accommodation services which also run schemes like housemate speed dating, to help you find a potential person or group of people to live with and assess how compatible you’d be.

Whatever you decide, you'll only have one year in your second-year house and can always find a new group of people to live with the year after, so don’t let the decision stress you out too much.

Lead image: San Sharma (Flickr)

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Written by Katie Roach
Katie is a third year student at UCL studying Philosophy. She is originally from Kent but now lives in London with 3 other Philosophy students. She discusses her experiences and provides advice on a range of topics.

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