How finding a good flatmate transformed my university life.
Image Courtesy of Pixabay, Pexels
by Yasmine Sandholm
In September 2018, I began my second year at the University of Aberdeen. After a tumultuous first year in Hillhead, specifically Fyfe House, life took a much calmer turn. I decided to move in with one of my flatmates from first year. During our time in Fyfe House, we lived in the same corridor. We would share the occasional meal together and ever so often watch some Netflix. If we were feeling wild, we would turn over to Amazon Prime. It was a good mix of privacy and cohabitation. Now, the lines are totally blurred. When I go to the library on a Sunday morning, I find myself receiving messages like: ‘My wife went missing!!! Any idea where she could be?’ I respond with: ‘I’m sorry ma’am, you have to wait at least 24 hours until you can report her as a missing person.’ You know, the kind of witty banter that us young people learned from TV shows like Gilmore Girls and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. We decide on everything in the flat as a couple, consult each other on almost everything and split the grocery bills.
We are your typical married couple, minus the carnal pleasures.
They say those usually end when you get married anyway. If this is what married life is, then sign me up for that patriarchal institution, please.
When I envisioned my future in Aberdeen, I saw many visits to Codona’s, academic discussions about bands like The Smiths and Simon & Garfunkel – which, obviously, only us intellectuals are aware of - long walks across Beach Boulevard and drinking until sunrise. Some of these things happened, some didn’t and many really only sounded good on paper. I am ready to claim my jim-jams at midnight, thank you very much.
First year was full of fun and exhaustion. Eventually, ideas of absolute reinvention disappeared.
University turned out not to be a new beginning but a continuation of your life which, truthfully, was a whole lot better.
It turns out that shopping with your flatmate at an empty Sainsbury’s on a Sunday night brings as much excitement as a 12 pack of Tennent’s for eight pounds in the local Lidl did. Having someone at home to eat dinner, watch TV and play LEGO Harry Potter with is extremely comforting and makes life easier. Living with someone who is always on your team at university - especially if you’re both from other countries - is a lifeline. Sure, as a Finn I have had to make my dining times a bit later and, as a girl from the Basque Country, my flatmate had to start eating earlier, but learning to compromise for someone else is an incredibly useful skill.
University can be a solitary experience. We don’t have scheduled lunch hours, we don’t have a lot of interactive lessons and our days are a lot shorter than they were. Socializing can be easy at university events - but you still need the courage to actually go to one. After long days, I have hot meals waiting for me at home, I find that my clothes have already been washed and the living room is suddenly clean. It’s worth it to find a good roommate. Life feels a bit easier if you have a teammate in your home.