Student Florence Sargent reflects on her first year accommodation experience and offers tips on how to avoid feeling lonely.

It’s no surprise to any university student that loneliness can feel like a dark presence during
term time. Living in a quiet, reserved flat at university brought its own challenges and experiences. Here are some of the tips I learned for how to stay connected to your flat, while expanding your circle of friends to curb term-time loneliness.

1. Tip 1: Join societies

This sounds like an obvious tip, but joining societies has made my university life so much
more enjoyable. It allows you to spend time outside the flat, whilst also making friends from
other years.
Societies with the most involvement and participation are the best bang for your buck. The
more time you spend with the same people, the greater the friendships you’re going to
Attending events in Freshers (Welcome Week) and Re-freshers week definitely helped, but lots of my current friends are people I didn’t even meet on those weeks! The more involvement you have with
the university, the more chance of creating lifelong connections.

2. Tip 2: Create a flat schedule

This is a great way to engage with your flatmates and ensure the kitchen stays clean! In East
Park, we had chalk boards, but any easily visible schedule, i.e, on paper or stuck on the
fridge, can work!
In our flat, we created a tally for ‘Bins’, ‘Washing-up Liquid’, ‘Kitchen Towel’, and ‘Post
Collection’. This makes sure that we are all dividing up tasks equally and supplying the same
number of products. It also allowed us to chat and bond in the first few weeks of uni.

3. Tip 3: If you’re not happy with your flat, speak to the Residence Life Team

This is on a case-by-case basis, but if you feel unhappy in your flat, even if it’s already the
end of Term 1 or the beginning of Term 2, I suggest talking to the Residence Life Team.
It might feel strange talking to someone outside of your flat, but they will offer a fresh
perspective to your flat troubles and will provide a chance for you to get anything off your
They’ll find a solution so that your flat experience is more like you imagined from university.
Term 2 and 3 might be shorter, but it’s still a long time to stay somewhere you’re unhappy,
so get in touch with them!

4. Tip 4: Arrange nights out or times when everyone will be in the kitchen together

Swapping numbers with your flatmates so you can arrange nights out or social nights in is a
great way to find out more about them. If you’re in a quiet flat, eating alone can be a well-known
experience, so arranging times when you’ll all be available to eat/cook together is
perfect. You could even plan a board game or karaoke night!

Living with new people can have both its ups and downs. It’s important to maintain
conversation with your flatmates to prevent any disputes and enjoy a social life both inside
and outside your accommodation.

Find out how to contact the Residence Life Team on their webpages.