on the block, I decided to play it cool and join in on bemoaning the evils of sour dough. Meanwhile, I was secretly concocting elaborate bread-smuggling schemes in my head. I felt like I was living a lie. Little did I know that prehistoric dietary preferences were only a teaser of the many confronting quirks of human nature I would experience in the months ahead. For example, in any sharehouse there are things that you expect to be points of contention, such as the Tetris-like precision apparently required in order to stack the dishwasher, or the eternal Biggest Loser vs My Kitchen Rules primetime TV battle. Then there’s the downright alarming aspects, such as the slightly creepy quantity of neglected children’s plush toys in the garage that no-one will admit is theirs, or the daily rigmarole of the shower flooding due to an unidentified human hairball physically blocking the drain. Having said that, communal living gives you the opportunity, however unflattering, to assess your own idiosyncrasies, or as I prefer to call them, charms. In fact, I didn’t even realize that my penchant for saving the planet had me labeled early on by my housemates as the resident eco-warrior. Later, when I caught myself furiously rooting through the kitchen bin to dig out misplaced recyclables like they were little nuggets of earth-conscious gold, I did start to wonder if perhaps they had a point. When you share a living space with others, you can often end up baring your soul, however unintentionally. Eventually, at some point or another, you will start to wonder, are you the token “weird one”? Are your newfound buddies having a titter at your expense when they
catch you dutifully colour coding your sock collection, or bust you taking a shameless bathroom selfie, complete with non-ironic duckface? My advice is, go with it and embrace all yours, and your housemates’, quirks and oddities. Also, on a side note, recycling really is important. Think of that 10 cent refund on all those empties! My experience of self-discovery and an imposed ban on bagels has taught me many things. For starters, if there’s one way to break down barriers of social norms and learn to accept your fellow human, it’s to move in with two people you once considered normal and just wait for the weird shit to start. On day one, the dinner table conversation will consist of pleasantries about the weather and benign moans about that mature age student. By day three, it’s cool to start approaching each other with moral quandaries and expect in-depth, sensitively considered answers (‘Is it okay to Facebook stalk my partner’s ex/ sister-in-law/old school teacher?’ Deep.) By day five, the whole house will know the intricacies of your digestion and the proverbial “line” will have been irrevocably crossed.
If you can afford to move out before you finish your studies, do it. The opportunity to live with friends while you all struggle through university is a priceless experience. You’ll get really good at division if you are all chipping in for stuff. You’ll have to take care of yourself, and negotiate bin night without parental supervision. Most importantly, you’ll have the chance to have a lot of fun before you tie yourself down to your illustrious professional career. Even if I have since been politely asked to restrict my cat ornament collection to my own quarters, I still feel more liberated than ever before. Who wouldn’t want a piece of that?
Victoria’s spirit animal is the naked mole rat.