One of the biggest part of living in student accommodation, especially when living in self-catered accommodation is learning to share–learning to share a unit or even a room depending on where you end up, learning to share a hallway, learning to share a lobby or common area and learning to share a laundry. However I have found that the hardest and most common, as well as obvious thing to share when living in self-catered accommodation is sharing a kitchen.
The first self-catered accommodation I lived in was a five-bedroom self-catered unit at Campus East in my second year of uni in 2011. I lived with four other girls and the kitchen was a small part of the living area of the unit. Sharing a kitchen with them wasn’t too bad, for the most part they were pretty good, there were no clashes in terms of when everyone wanted to have dinner. Sharing the fridge and freezer was pretty easy, although it was hard having limited room because I was sharing it with four other people. The only downside was that a couple of girls that I lived with were slobby and messy and wouldn’t clean up after themselves and would often leave the kitchen and the rest of the unit looking like a pig sty. I also hate when any of my flat mates would have people around and cooked for them all as it meant that they would hog up the kitchen for hours and I had to wait to have my dinner.
When I moved into Marketview in 2012, it was a different type of accommodation. It was individual rooms rather than a unit with five people to them. Each floor was divided into two wings with about 20 people to each wing with one kitchen per wing. Sharing a kitchen with 20 people can be difficult but not impossible. At Marketview there is one whole fridge and one whole freezer to everyone, which is the most difficult part of sharing a kitchen as the fridges and freezers tend to overheat and shut down, although there should be more than one fridge or freezer for 20 people. Everyone has their own locker in the kitchen, I use mine to keep herbs and sauces in. We have a built in hot plate as a stove to cook on as well as cupboards for storage space. One of the worst parts of sharing a kitchen with that many people is that there are bound to be one to four lazy people per wing that don’t clean up after themselves and it is hard to discipline as it’s hard to prove who did it. Kitchen sharing isn’t all bad as it’s a chance to see some people who live on your wing if you some of you are cooking at the same time.
For those of you reading this who are about to live in self-catered accommodation for the first time, come with your own cutlery, pots, pans and utensils and be prepared that sharing a kitchen with your room mates/ wing mates isn’t going to be easy. Try to work out a system or a time when your room mates/wing mates won’t be or won’t want to have dinner and cook then. When sharing a fridge and freezer with 20-odd people, remember to put your food into a plastic bag with your name on in and throughout the year you will learn vital skills on squeezing your food onto a shelf and also be open to the possibility that your food will get stolen. Unfortunately with living on accommodation there are some inconsiderate people you have to live and deal with.
For those who are living on accommodation for the last time, you will be grateful and deeply appreciate a kitchen to yourself when you eventually get one.
This column originally appeared on Tertangala and can be found here.