Dear Ethel | Issue 21

Dear Ethel | Issue 21


Dear Ethel,

I’m living in a studio room and it’s really miserable. I never see any of my other housemates and when I do, it’s just in passing. The kitchen’s always gross but I don’t feel I can saying anything about it. I’m so uncomfortable using the communal spaces that I just don’t bother anymore. I stay at the library until it closes and then go straight to my room. What can I do?

-Lonely and Grossed Out


Dear Lonely and Grossed Out,

We hear you! There are more and more studio rooms popping up everywhere and they seem like a really inviting alternative to flatting but have their own downsides. For a start, you have no control over who you are sharing space with.

Studio rooms are often isolating. I’m not sure whether you are usually a sociable person? You may feel that you don’t ‘fit in’ but it might be that some of the others you are sharing with are also feeling isolated. If you are up to it, you could try spending a bit of time in the shared space and striking up a conversation. Or, you could ask a friend over and be in that shared space together so that you have some support. That may help break the ice with others who use the kitchen and lounge.

In terms of the cleanliness of the kitchen, you could talk to the landlord or property manager about it (but make sure they’re not going to name you!) and ask them to keep a closer watch on it. If you do start having conversations with your housemates, you might feel able to raise the kitchen issue.

While it’s not going to fix feeling isolated in your accommodation, you may find it helpful to join one of the clubs and societies on offer through OUSA. You could also consider volunteering with OUSA and UniCrew. Not only will you be helping others but you will meet like-minded people. 

You can drop in and have a confidential chat with one of our advocates at 5 Ethel B. We can look at your tenancy agreement and see if your studio room complex is actually a boarding house. If it is there is the potential for you to terminate your lease without any ongoing financial obligation. You’re also welcome just to pop in and vent – whatever you need!

Hope to see you soon...


Whole lotta love, 

-Ethel xox

This article first appeared in Issue 21, 2016.
Posted 12:04pm Sunday 4th September 2016 by Student Support.