Postgrad life (in a student flat)

This article was originally titled How to flat with a postgrad, and I think that’s quite funny because it implies living with a postgrad is either strongly better, or worse than flatting with an undergrad. I think that unless you’re a group of first-time flatters hoping to have Project X style parties every weekend, and still don’t know how to operate a washing machine, you’ll find postgrads pretty much the same thing, but with different complaints.

Where an undergrad will say, “I have 6 assignments and 3 tests in the next two weeks!”, a postgrad will exclaim, “my ethics application still hasn’t been returned and I need to know if I can send my survey about community engagement to six different communities!”. Same stress, just sometimes seems like a different language to convey it in. So, it’s all about how you learn to live with each other.

I was an undergrad at UC and lived in an array of weird-looking, cold, and wildly overpriced student flats. I’ve found the most interesting part of flatting hands down, is who you choose to flat with.

The people you surround yourself with at 9pm in the lounge, middle of winter, seeing every breath in front of you. That’s who matters. And so how does this relate to being a postgrad? Well, my four flatmates have learnt the weird ways and stresses of postgrad life, vicariously through me. And while I’m probably really annoying in the way that I seem to simultaneously have nothing and everything going on, there are a couple of positives.

Firstly, a postgrad has been at University for a while, they will certainly know some stuff about the system. They’ve figured out all of the free stuff, all of the student benefits and know who to go to with what problem. So if you do flat with one, ask them for all of the inside goss, tips, and tricks.

My next lesson comes from one of my flatmates this year, who saw me after one of my busiest and stressful weeks at uni yet and said, “if you want a task done, give it to someone who’s always busy”. Sounds counterproductive right? I thought so too when my flatmate first spat out this wee saying. But turns out it’s reasonably accurate, and quite applicable to most postgrads. A person who is silly enough to take on way to many tasks for their own good, is one who is generally committed to all of their passions, and therefore gets stuff done.

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