Welfare at Leeds: dealing with difficult housemates

At University we sometimes have a very limited amount of choice about who we end up living with. This is especially true about first year when you are thrown in student accommodation with strangers. Sometimes it’s great and you meet people who go on to be friends for life, but sometimes it doesn’t always work and you are placed with people who you find it hard to live with. Disputes between housemates can range from issues such as doing the dishes, cleaning the communal areas and playing music too loudly to more serious issues which create deeper rifts. No matter how big or small these potential issues could be they have an effect on the environment which constitutes your ‘home’ during term time.

How happy you are in your ‘home’ environment affects everything. It affects how comfortable you are, how happy you are, whether you feel you can work at home or are banished to the library. It can get you down feeling that you’re the only one working to keep the flat clean. Or it can be disheartening to think that your housemates don’t respect you in regards to noise levels or having other visitors staying over. This is not uncommon. It is rarer to go through your whole university experience without having problems with someone that you are living with. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily have big personality clashes, or big arguments about politics, religion or money. You can be best friends but still struggle to live together!

Everyone has different ways of living, some people like organised mess, others love strict order. Some people like to leave their dishes to soak, others need to do them straight after they eat. Both ways are fine but learning to live in harmony with these differences can be a hard and difficult process.

What help is available to you?

If you are experiencing problems like this it is okay, you have options and varying avenues of help available to you. Academically your personal tutor and departmental student support officer can help you if your academic work suffers due to your living arrangement. Such academic suffering could be if you’re kept up late and feel you don’t perform well in seminars, or if meeting a deadline is affected by taking extra time to clean your living spaces.

If your living arrangement means your mental health is suffering then going to see your GP or the Student Counselling Service could help. If you require practical help in terms of your accommodation then come to the Student Advice Centre in the Union and speak to an advisor about all the options available to you. This is not an uncommon issue and you are not alone so have a chat with someone who can advise and help you. Your welfare comes first!

Martha Clowes

(Photo credit: http://ppi-leeds.com/berita/accommodation-review-central-village/)

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