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© Updated as of 2019
Survive Law

  • Bethany-Kate Lewis

House of Horrors: Finding Good Housemates


Moving out of the nest and learning to live with housemates can be an exciting time. While having a stable living arrangement will help your degree, an unruly household can really cause your grades to slip.

As the beginning of semester draws steadily closer (the horror, the horror) many of you will be inspecting houses and trying to find that once place to call home. As a veteran of share houses, here are some housemates to look out for…

The Alternate Time Zone Housemate

I myself have been accused of being such a housemate. It is not uncommon for most law students to adopt a completely different set of working hours to the traditional 9am-5pm working day. Around exam time I pass my housemates like a ship in the night, going to bed as they wake and beginning a long study session as they head for snooze town.

This type of roomie becomes a bit of a nuisance when they are waking you at 6am to the sound and smell of a full five-course banquet or hosting loud lunches in the living area at 3am.

The Party Animal

The social butterfly is great to live with during your first year of university. Even in your second year you will get by, but at some point you’ll find yourself struggling to write a 3,000 word essay while the rest of your household parties on, and on, and on…

Remember to lay the ground rules early, pick your battles and know when it’s sometimes best just to move out.

The Slob

This breed of housemate likes to live in his or her own filth. They collect plates in their room and mould grows on their food in the fridge. The worst feature of this individual is that you can spend hours cleaning up after them only to see the house return it to its original, messy state by the end of the day.

The best way to deal with this is to let them know it’s not acceptable. Have ‘that’ talk and put up a list of house rules. Nip this behavior in the bud before you get left (like I did) with a housemate who vomits all over the floor and leaves it for you to clean up!

The Couple

Whether you decide to move in with a couple or (as happened with me) you ended up living with a couple because the girlfriend just never left one day, think seriously about what to expect.

For example, are you yourself single? Having a couple around if you are not in a relationship can be a testing time. Also remember that not all is fair in love and war. Couples sometimes argue and you could end up in the middle of it – at least you will get to practice your negotiating skills, right?

Potential match makers be warned: that friend of yours who decides to date your housemate had better be thinking they are soul mates, because there’s a chance that you could be without a friend or a housemate after the break up.

The Family Unit

It’s been many years since I lived with my parents, having moved out of home at 18 to go live in a haunted 200 year old manor house in England, so I can’t give you an assessment of the experience of living with the folks while studying.

Friends of mine assure me that it has its perks: home cooked meals, freshly cleaned clothes and a coffee jar that never runs out because you forgot to buy more after that last midnight cramming session. The general consensus though, is that it does come at a price: multiple phone calls when you don’t come home from the library on time and constant questioning about whether it really is that necessary to cover your room in textbooks and sticky notes during the exam period (and yes it is necessary).

Alternatively, there is always the option of living with a sibling. Right now I am house sharing with my younger brother who is also studying law. In spite of some petty arguments about some legal principle or other, things have run pretty smoothly. We operate on a “I’ll give you my notes if you keep the house clean” basis and hell only breaks lose when someone has drunk the other’s caffeinated beverage.

He does have this annoying habit of not hanging his clothes on the line with pegs, but I suppose we all have at least one weird routine. This at least is one that I can mostly live with.

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