Armed with anti-bac and assertions of “what an unfortunate time to start uni” echoing in my ears, I had never been more ready to move in with my new flatmates. After months of uncertainty about whether relocating to university would even be possible, I had pushed the prospect of who I could be living with into the dark recesses of my mind. However, when I looked at the packed boxes containing my life for the coming year, my stomach began to churn. My imagination ran wild envisioning the piles of unwashed dishes, the shared bathrooms, and grumpy roommates…
I tried to reassure myself that I was somewhat experienced after spending my gap year in all kinds of places; I had worked on farms in the most rural villages of Malawi, and I had studied in Spain where privacy was non-existent (25 students squeezed into one casa is what some might call close living). However, no amount of self- assurance could have prepared me for the culture shock of the Murano lifestyle. During my second night in my new university flat I found myself mopping up the remains of what was an overconsumption of both instant noodles and vodka. I tried to neither cry nor vomit from the pungent odour that filled the stairwell. It was truly the warmest welcome from student accommodation.
Nevertheless, despite the ever-changing rules and regulations of this current climate, one thing that remains certain is that I will be filling the role of mum of the flat. I believe it had only been 15 minutes after meeting one of my flatmates before he exclaimed, “You’re like my mum!” Yes, it is indeed true that when you are the ripe old age of twenty, the inevitability of becoming mother hen to these freshly churned out high schoolers is shocking. It was barely three days before I was handing out laundry advice, sneakily cleaning the place, and organising flat dinners.
Flat sharing is a learning curve in itself. With an ongoing pandemic, this learning curve seems more evident than ever: there are hand sanitizers on every block, a secret stash of toilet roll (just in case…), and the sentiment of extreme bonding only seems to grow stronger as you and your flatmates isolate together for the third time… However, the comforting fact is knowing that everybody is in the same boat together, and some way or another we will survive our first year of living together.
[Leah Francis – she/her]
[Image credit: circa70]