College Life: How to Live With Other People

By Steven Galvin - Last update

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For many freshers, this September could be the first time sharing a house with strangers. You’ve lived at home all your life and your family have cleaned up after you and put up with you and all your funny little ways. Now things are going to be different. You’re going to be sharing a house with new people who are going to be in it everyday – that may be exciting but it can also be a recipe for disaster. Many houses have become warzones as students become soldiers and battles are fought over issues that even the UN couldn’t resolve – who drank my milk? Of course, everyone wants to avoid this but unless you put a few rules down, even with the best intentions, you could be heading for all-out war. Fortunately, here at whichcollege we bring peace and reconciliation and offer a few guidelines that will hopefully bring the house together rather than it being torn apart. So let’s take a look at few tips on how to live with other people.

College Life: How to Live With Other People

From the Get-go

It’s important that you hit the ground running and start off on the right foot. Putting down plans at the start will help to bring order to chaos and may be the very thing that stops fallouts and arguments  a few months down the line. 

Don’t say: “My mum always used to do that”


Start with the obvious. Simple things like shower-time in the morning should be worked out according to each person’s timetable. If you plan a morning schedule then people won’t be getting frustrated waiting on other people to finish in the bathroom or kitchen.

Don’t say: “I’ll be out in an hour”


You will probably all do your own thing but maybe you could agree on one night each week that you sit down together and have dinner. It’s a great way to connect with each other and bring everyone in the house closer together. 

Don’t say: “Why would I want to do that?”

Get Together

Similarly, maybe there’s an evening you could allocate for everyone to do something together – that could be going for a drink, to the cinema or planning a games night – whatever the activity is, it’s a great way to bond. You dont have to be best friends but there’s no excuse for not trying to be friendly.

Don’t say: “What’s the point?”


Yes, cleaning. You don’t live at home anymore where things were magically cleaned. It’s important that everyone chips and shares general house-cleaning duties. Work out a roster and share out duties fairly and you’ll avoid plenty of rows down the line! No one wants to see a sink full of dirty dishes day after day. 

As well as shared house cleaning duties, it’s important you clean up after yourself. It may be the small simple things but make sure you do them. No one wants to find your hair in the shower, your toothbrush in the sink, your socks on the floor or your plate on the couch. Put things where they should be and don’t leave a mess.

Don’t say: “My family have a cleaner”

Leave Alone

It’s important to respect your housemates personal space. If they are in their room, leave them in peace unless it’s important. In general when people want company they will go to the living room and hang out but if they want to be alone they will go to their room so read the signs and leave them alone.

Don’t say: “What are you doing in there”

Bad Habits

Be aware of your bad habits and change them. There’s no need to leave used tea bags on the kitchen table, or marmalade strings on knives left on the kitchen counter. These are the things that will enrage your housemates. So take a good look at yourself and check your bad habits. Remember you are living with others who you need to show respect towards.

Don’t say: “What’s your problem”

Reach Out

Starting college is not easy and for many it can take time to adapt. Now that you are sharing living space with people in a similar position to you, don’t be afraid to reach out to them –  maybe you are looking for some advice or maybe someone else needs it. Whichever is the case you can be there for each other and provide support whether that be an ear to talk to or a shoulder to cry on.

Don’t say: “Man up”


At some stage you will meet a Post-it Note Person who will enrage you by leaving notes for you on the fridge or around the house. These notes are ways of avoiding conflict and will only serve to make your life a misery as they reduce any issues to a one-way street of communication instead of opening up a dialogue. Remember it’s always best to resolve issues by talking to each other. Sit down and talk.

Don’t say: “I’ve explained everything in this note”

Don’t Steal Food

Do we need to say more. If you want something, ask for it. Otherwise do without until you get your own. Full stop. Theft is a serious crime.

Don’t say: “I thought it was mine”

No one is Like You

Give people a chance. Everyone is different and has their own little quirks and habits and behaviour. Be tolerant where you can and where you cannot open up a conversation and deal with the issue.

Don’t say: “Why can’t everyone be more like me”

While you may not spend every evening sitting together singing ‘Cum By Yah’, hopefully these tips will help you keep the peace and avoid you being trapped in a Call of Duty: HouseWar situation…

… and yes that picture above is not real. is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level, CAO and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses and colleges.



Steven Galvin

Performing Arts
Irish Wildlife Conservation Courses


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