Monday, 30 April 2012

Dark Side of Student Living - Feedback

Thank you to everyone who shared their stories this week about conflict in student homes.  We know it can be a touchy subject! Here are some of your stories about the conflict in your homes:

Living with Dani – the early bird who did not share her food

Previously I had shared an apartment with three roommates and I thought I handled living with other people quite well, we agreed about almost everything and did most things together. So I was quite confident walking into the dorm and very excited to meet my new roommates. But nothing could have prepared me for the one roommate I had to share my room with – her name was Dani. She was a few years my senior, near the end of her study who already had a part-time job. As she had been living alone for quite some time before my arrival, she treated me like an intruder from the very beginning. I was aware of the fact that we were not exactly a match made in heaven but was also determined to make things work. Unfortunately this turned out to be much more difficult than I had imagined.

Very soon it became clear that we could not have been more different. She was an early bird and I was a night hawk. This was my second year as a student and I dedicated a lot of my time partying and returning back home in the middle of the night. Of course I did my best not to wake Dani up which meant tiptoeing around the room and trying to be as silent as possible. However, when she got up in the morning she ignored me completely. She simply turned on the lights and walked in and out of the room as if I had not been sleeping there. If she was especially in a good mood she whistled or murmured a tune. Moreover, once she even opened the window at 7 o’clock in the morning, saw her friend outside, started yelling her name and spoke to her for five minutes.

Dani had an unusual idea about sharing, it went like this: she used all of my things like they belonged to her but heaven forbid I took something that was hers. Her motto was: what is mine is only mine, and what is yours is mine as well. She made sure I knew which things were hers as she wrote her name on every milk cartoon and tuna can that belonged to her. Once my friends and I were cooking lunch and were one can of tuna short so I used hers, with the intention of returning it, of course. When she came home I told her immediately that we had eaten one of her tuna cans and she instructed me to go to the shop as soon as possible and get her a new one. The idea seemed quite reasonable at the time because I believed she wanted to make pasta and could really use that can of tuna so I put on my sneakers and ran to the store. When I returned she took the tuna can, wrote her name on it and put in the fridge. She ate it a few days later.

Spending three years living with Dani is now a distant memory and despite all the things that she put me through, sharing a room with her certainly was a valuable experience. I am still surprised by the fact how different she was from me and how she was not prepared to compromise. I think it comes as no surprise if I say that we do not stay in touch and I have not seen her since she moved out and we celebrated for 3 days and nights.  
- Iris

The building where Iris &Dani used to co-exist.

How my flat-mate transformed my room into a hotel

It all began when I announced that I wouldbe leaving for 10 days trip to Northern Europe. My flat-mate – let’s call her Olivia - with whom I only share the flat but not the room, happily announced that in the time of my absence her friend – let’s call her Tia- would stay with her. I answered that I was ok with that, as long Tia did not sleep in my bed. Surprisingly, Olivia looked at me and responded sarcastically: “She won’t sleep on the floor.” I explained to her that I didn’t feel comfortable with people I didn’t know sleeping in my bed. My room is my private space where the objects I am attached to are, and I don’t allow strangers in. According to Olivia, I overreacted. She accused me of being drama queen. Again, I specifically stated that I didn’t allow anyone to sleep in my bed as my room was not a hotel room for her to rent out for a week. Olivia agreed Tia wouldn’t sleep in my bed, but she added that she wouldn’t tell me anything about their sleepover. You can imagine my surprise. Although she promised, I knew Tia would sleep in my bed, but Olivia planned not to tell me! Because I really didn’t want someone use my bed in my absence, I asked other three flat-mates for cooperation. They suggested that I lock the room, but unfortunately my room doesn’t have a key. As I didn’t want to upset our landlady my room remained unlocked when I left. When I returned back from the North, I found some of my objects and bed sheets were not in the same position as they were when I left. Other flat-mates confirmed my suspicions. Tia stayed in my room for all ten days of my absence. What did I do? For the sake of peace in the flat, I haven’t spoken about the problem with Olivia. If I would, I’m sure we would have a serious fight which could ruin the good atmosphere of the flat. I changed my sheets and moved on.

My noisy flat-mate

My boyfriend and I used to share the apartment with other couple. They were really nice, but that changed soon after we become overly familiar with us. They had crossed the limits of our privacy when she kept asking unpleasant questions about our relationship. When we told her that we didn’t feel comfortable speaking about our personal things with her, she was offended. From that moment on she drastically changed her attitude towards us. She was in constant conflict with us. For instance, she started to provoke us by making noise. Slamming doors late in the evening and talking loudly in right outside of our room early in the morning are just two examples of her testing our nerves. Before our talk she was completely satisfied about the level of cleanliness of our flat after we cleaned it but, afterwards, she started complainingabout how dirty it was. Once after we cleaned the shared spaces in the apartment, she even “cleaned” the already clean apartment, pointing out we hadn’t done our job properly. She also developed the annoying habit of washing whatever she could wash 3 to 4 times per week. She even cleaned the carpets once per week, just to occupy washing machine and accused us of being dirty.  I felt sorry for her boyfriend who was caught in the unenviable position between his girlfriend and us. I’m sure he was relieved, when they moved out. I know we were.
- Anonymous

Flat-mate from hell

So I've lived with some pretty horrible people (I called my last flat 'the crack den' was really that bad). But the worst people I probably lived with was this guy in my 3rd year of my undergrad. I lived in this really nice terraced house in Camden with 3 really good friends and we needed another person, so we advertised (first mistake) on the UCL housing website and this guy came and seemed really nice, until he moved in.

He was disgustingly dirty, didn't do any washing up, didn't do any cleaning throughout the house, used to be in the bathroom for over an hour having a shower (hot water costs money people!), although he didn't shower that often, which was also pretty grimy. He was argumentative, he used to refuse to pay the bills until we forced his too, he was unsociable, I remember this one time having lots of friends round and he sat in the middle of the living room and played on his Play station and just ignored everyone. He used to fill the freezer up and he never cleaned his out of date food out the fridge (we used to do it with a long wooden spoon as usually you couldn't even tell what the food used to be). He was absolute hell to live with.  It got to the point where we didn't even speak, he only really communicated with one of my flatmates in the end. I was so relieved when he said he was moving out 2 months before the end of the contract. So glad it’s over. Even the memories make me shudder!

Conflict also results in angry messages left in the common space. What do you think caused the anger of authors of the following two notes?


- Anonymous

As you can see, we received some really interesting contributions this week. We couldn’t decide which story or picture should win two free tickets to the Special Evening Opening: Global Homes at the Geffrye Museum. Therefore, we are asking YOU, our dear audience, to vote on who will enjoy live music, wine and lots of great activities on the 16th May for free. Will it be Iris with her story about Dani? Anonymous whose room was converted into a hotel? What about Anonymous contributor number 2 with an overly curious, washing-obsessed, flatmate? Hannah’s flatmate from hell? Leslie’s photo of an angry note? Or, will it be the photo of the note about cleanliness from our final anonymous contributor? It’s up to you! Vote for your favourite by leaving your comments!


  1. All stories are great, but my vote goes to Iris & Dani!

  2. I vote for 'Flat-mate from hell' ^_^

  3. My vote goes to Iris

  4. vote to Iris!

  5. Iris and Dani...three years is a looooong time

  6. I vote for Iris

  7. Iris! She must be rewarded for sharing apartment with Dani for such a long period!

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