You’ll never have more friends than in first year
Be warned: you might hate your housemates after halls
Houses in second year are great: you get the freedom to do what you want away from campus halls security, you can hold house parties and if you were in catered halls the year before, you get to experience the beauty of cooking chicken dippers at 5am. Basically you get to experience any aspects of living away from home which you may have missed in halls. Yet any second year will admit that, aside from the constant fear of 4am fire alarms being set off by some twat who burned their toast, halls are considerably more fun than anything which comes after.
Being surrounded by your friends in your flat or another block, living closer to uni, the flat bins being emptied out weekly for you by cleaners, and having the constant reminder first year doesn’t count all contribute to first year being amazing. You have the freedom to go out four times a week and not feel guilty in the slightest for missing your 9am the next day. If there’s a bus between halls and campus, you spend the journey every day socialising with mates, collectively agreeing that going out the night before was a bad idea.
This sense of community is completely lost in second year though. Just look at the difference between big balls or events in first year and second year. Sure, getting dressed up and going out anywhere with your house is great, but going to an event with a massive group from the same halls made it all the more fun.
Throughout second year, your friendships will most likely get worse. How many second years do you know who are having problems with their housemates? After the comfort and convenience of halls with only a shared kitchen and maybe your en suite to deal with, it’s no surprise the responsibility of sharing the cleaning equally, trying to all cook and wash up in the same kitchen and sorting out bills together can cause arguments. Even the best of friends seem to drift apart and argue nonstop in second year when you least expect them to.
Living in a house also means practically everywhere is a communal area shared between everyone. Gone are the days when you had some actual privacy and the kitchen was the only communal area. Arguments in the house inevitably escalate and, before you know it, you’re making plans to live with a completely different group of people next year. As much as you might hope things will be different with them, with a lot of groups they probably won’t be.
While the home front collapses, tensions rise because second year actually counts. People don’t go out as much anymore, so you don’t see as many of the people you used to see in halls every day. You took them for granted back then. Even the people you’d see every week at the SU and run into occasionally at your halls, are no longer around as a back up for you to tag onto on a night out. Although you wouldn’t have classed them as within your squad and you know you’ll drunkenly reunite with them at the SU anyway, their absence is still felt.
This reduced social circle means you’re left either avoiding the housemates and any passive-aggressive post-it notes by staying in your room or spending so much time at a mate’s house you may as well move in.
For a second or third year house to be successful, it’s not enough to just have been flatmates or friends in halls. You need to actually enjoy spending the majority of your time with them and know they’ll be pretty relaxed if you forget to clean the living room after a long day at uni or leave your washing up for a bit. Move in with the wrong people instead and you’ll be condemned to a friendless year of nagging and fighting.