Students in the UK rarely share rooms. Learning to live with complete strangers might be a rite-of-passage in other countries, but in the UK, it is considered strange. Not all LSE halls offer shared rooms, but if your preferred hall does, I encourage you to choose a shared room on Hallpad, if you have any interest in it at all. I live in Passfield Hall in a triple room, which means I have two–yes, two!–roommates. I always knew I wanted roommates–to me, the university experience is incomplete without learning to share your space, and I was encouraged by my parents, who still have fond memories of their college roommates who they still keep in contact with.
Not everyone thought it was a good idea. My cousins warned me that I would be annoyed at not having any privacy, and some of my friends regaled me with horror stories that they had heard from their uncles and aunts. But I don’t regret it. Having two roommates means that my rent and living costs for a week is less than the rent of a single room; considering that my room is more than twice the size of a single room, and feels far airier, I think I have the better deal. It’s a lot easier to have parties and host people in a triple room than a single. You have more wall space to decorate. It’s easier to get ready without bumping into things (although my room has earned the title of “Bermuda Triangle”: things mysteriously disappear. My roommates and I have lost one piece of homework, a charger, a pair of earphones, a keycard holder, and a keycard. There is no way the things could have left the room. We are forced to conclude that the room sucks things in).
So much for the monetary advantages of sharing, and the benefits of having a bigger room. What’s nice about having roommates is that you never feel lonely. There’s always someone to talk about your day with. Plus, when you sleep and get ready in the same room, you can’t help bonding; you whisper to each other until one of you falls asleep, and when you get back and no-one’s in the room, you enjoy the solitude for a while before frantically messaging them both because it’s just weird to have the room to yourself. Having a roommate is especially useful to avoid the awkwardness of Fresher’s Week, because you have ready-made friends; it’s also nice to go down to brunch with someone, bleary-eyed from the last night’s activities. I really enjoy having roommates, and can’t imagine being in a single room.
Another advantage of choosing a shared room is that you’re likelier to get the hall that you want on Hallpad. There are always fewer people who want shared rooms than shared places, so if you’re really set on a particular hall, you know what to do. Passfield is one of the most popular halls, being friendly, catered, and in an amazing location, and has the highest proportion of shared:single places, so if that’s your first choice (which it should be!) be prepared to share.
There are some people who aren’t very close to their roommates, though. If that’s the case, don’t spend time in your room. Very few people at university do anyway. I am forced to conclude that the horror stories about roommates are exaggerated: it’s far more likely that you’ll be perfectly polite to each other, or that you’ll end up building deep friendships. After all, the best bonds are forged through screaming at the resident mouse that has taken up camp in your room.