May 9, 2014, by International students

Why sharing a flat is not my cup of tea

“I only go out to get me a fresh appetite for being alone” (Lord Byron).

Although I have been a uni student for a couple of years, I have never had flatmates. Always in the back of my mind, I harbored regret for missing that classic dorm experience associated with educational institutions back in America. Feeling like I was missing out, I decided that this year, I would give sharing a flat a go. Unfortunately, shows like Friends and New Girl give false, ideological notions of what it is actually like to live with other people. Sharing a space with others is hard.

Though my flatmates are three of the nicest people I know, we all have habits and flaws that grind and grow tiresome to those around us. Shared areas are a quagmire of irritating habits, but home is where we come to kick off our shoes and let the chaos of public life fade away and compromise means recognizing that these areas do not belong to single individual.

I know that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones in glass houses, but I do have a couple of stones to cast:

1.) The restroom is still a place to conduct business… of sorts. I know that in America we call the toilet the rest-room, but they spend hours in there. What could they possibly be doing? Taking a nap?

2.) As far as the kitchen goes…I hold out hope that the dishes will one day be cleaned by the culprits responsible for dirtying them.

(Smallest the dirty dish pile has been in months)

(Smallest the dirty dish pile has been in months)

But complaints aside, they are still better flatmates than I will ever be. All three of them are friendly, kind and caring. Living with a group of individuals from a different country than my home has been a wonderful experience. My British slang vocabulary has grown considerably and I have never drunk so much tea before in my life.

However, sharing a flat… not my cup of tea. When you are alone, living by yourself, there is no one else to blame; which is probably why the three of them need roommates (to have someone to point the finger at). I like being responsible for me, myself and I. No one else. But having roommates was (emphasis on past tense) a great experience despite how it might sound.

It was a learning experience. I have learned the art of being able to take responsibility. Responsibility for myself, my actions and my surroundings. Moreover, I learned that I enjoy my own company. Additionally, I learned ways of dealing with and ignoring some of the many irritating habits of my fellow humans; with a long life ahead of me to practice such skills. And finally, I learned how to make a mean cup of tea.

But now I have a fresh and hearty appetite for being alone.

Devyn Bell, international student from the United States studying BA Film and Television Studies at The University of Nottingham.

Posted in AccommodationFriends