Debate Magazine - flatting and flattery

August 11, 2016

I have read a few university magazines over the years but I think AUT's Debate magazine is one of the best. It is an interesting free, weekly publication with some well-written articles and reviews.

I just picked up an old copy from June 2016 and read the article titled Ten Things I Learned From Flatting

Its contents are very flattering for parents, take No. 5 'my mum is a really good cook' and No. 10, 'my parents have done a lot for me'. It also shows why flatting is a great experience for us all as the article promotes tolerance, a new understanding that money doesn't grow on trees and that when flats don't work it isn't necessarily everyone else's fault.

I have tried to convince students of the pleasure and results of keeping a budget on a spreadsheet so they really see where their money goes. also has some great tips when going flatting. However, my Sam has obviously inherited the vague, just-work-it-out in your head budgeting style. Fortunately he has not inherited the desire for expensive designer labels and I suspect he thinks Huffer is an asthma inhaler. Frighteningly, in his first year of flatting he lived on frozen vegetables, Pam's bread and pasta and possibly a tomato sauce garnish. Judging by the colour of the kettle when it arrived back home he certainly didn't invest time or money on cleaning products.

Not a real image... just the one in my mind.... 


Hint, if you are helping out, buy coloured sheets...coloured socks, undies, and a dark-coloured onesie.

Julie Cleaver, the author of the article, shows a maturity beyond her years and she sounds as though she would make an excellent flatmate. No. 7 in her article is 'lead by example' and the author has clearly learned life lessons while flatting.

“This theory applies to basically every aspect of life if you want people to love you. First you must love others....So if you don’t clean up after yourself, you have no permission to tell other people to clean up after themselves...”
— Julie Cleaver, Debate Magazine

Sam did learn to put on extra layers to keep warm rather than run up a big power bill, and living with others seems to come easily to him. Probably because he is so laid back we are talking horizontal! There is no better fun than being part of a sociable and highly-functioning flat and the old cliche about making friends for life often holds true. Sam is off again this week after a budget-driven year with an older friend who kindly charged him a couple of peanuts for rent.

He can't wait. I think he is a better cook than before but I'm not sure the cleaning has come on any. Perhaps his birthday present should be a box of eco cleaning products.

Please comment below if you have any tips for parents regarding children going flatting. I am sure there are some salutary stories to tell.

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