Living with someone, in close quarters, who you don’t know can be a challenging situation and a source of anxiety, at first, but it can also be a great experience. The person or people who you’ll be living with during your university years can also become your best friend.

Communication is probably the most important aspect to settle on. You’ll need to respect each other’s needs and preferences. Do you know yourself enough to communicate to your flatmates what your needs and preferences are? Maybe you like to play music while you study, but your roommate can’t concentrate with it on. Maybe you need some quiet time each morning before starting your day. Don’t assume that your roommate will just figure all this out; communicate these needs, preferences, and expectations as soon as possible! This will save you both a lot of conflict.

Never wait on a problem to see if it will go away – it probably won’t and will only get bigger. Solve problems when they’re small and the solutions will be small too. Addressing any given situation immediately will save you and your flatmates a lot of hassle in the future. Always be respectful when addressing a problem.

One thing that might be a problem is inviting people over. Remember, your flat is shared and you must respect your flatmate. Letting them know, in advance, that you are having some friends over will allow your flatmate to go to the library if they need to study or to simply ask you if you could change the date if they have, for instance, a big exam the following day and need some quiet to study.

Keep an open mind. Your roommate may have a background very different from yours. He or she may be from another culture, and may have an entirely different lifestyle, ideology, and perspective than yours. Be open to this new perspectiveand respect the differences between you. If you do, you’ll find the diversity this experience brings into your life to be very rewarding.

University is a time for learning and growth, and both you and your roommate will likely change a lot during your time together. Be aware of the changes as they come, and don’t cling to the past. New challenges will arise, and you may need to address new issues or come to new agreements. You may start out close and slowly grow apart, or the opposite may be true. Be open to this change, go with the flow, and enjoy new experiences that university and flat sharing offers.