Thinking about housing arrangements for the following year comes much quicker than you might think. While you may have just gotten settled in the dorms or in your new apartment, it may be time to start considering your living arrangements for next year. Though it might sound hasty, when Cal Poly’s winter quarter rolls around, you should have an idea of who you’re living with and what your options are for places to live. Choosing a roommate or roommates might seem like the easiest part of figuring out housing, but in some cases it can be the most challenging.
Here are some tips that are important to keep in mind for choosing the ideal roommate(s):
Choose someone with similar habits as your own
What if your roommate wakes up at 6:30 every morning for work or class, while you’re trying to sleep in because you don’t have class until 10 am? Will this drive you crazy? It is important to have conversations like these with your roommate(s). While it might feel awkward asking your friends questions like: When do you usually go to bed and wake up? Are you organized? Will you be willing to keep our house/apartment clean at all times? Will you be inviting people over often? these are all necessary considerations for roommates to be on the same page about. You don’t want tobe annoyed by those you live with, nor do you want to be the one to irritate them. Make sure you’re all in agreement about when to be quiet at night, when to and when not to invite other people over, and when it’s time to clean up the mess you might have made around your home, as well as any other deal-breaker habits you might not be able to live with.
Make sure the price is right for both/all of you
Just when you think you’ve found the perfect roommate and apartment/house to live in, it’s time to talk money. If you and your roommate(s) are not on the same page about your housing budget, this can cause some serious problems. Everyone you’re living with must be able to afford the cost of rent as well as utilities and most likely the cost of furnishings whether it be furniture like couches and beds, or simple household appliances like a toaster and a blender. These are all important factors to consider with your roommate(s) and if you can’t agree, it just might be a deal breaker. Talking money with other people can often be a touchy or awkward subject, but it is important to be open and honest with your roommates about how much you’re willing to spend, or else things won’t work out. “I actually called a meeting with my potential roommates to discuss our budget,” says first year communications student, Haley Buckles. “We all sat down together and talked about our options and how much us, along with our parents, we’re willing to spend. We were all open with each other and set realistic price goals which in the end, helped us secure the apartment we really wanted,” she added.
Make sure you’re both/all willing to put in the work it takes
Choose a roommate or roommates that are hardworking and ambitious. Everyone needs to make sure their rent is paid on time, know how to contact the landlord if there is a problem, and communicate to the other roommates when there is a problem. This should not be the responsibility of one person alone, it must be a collective effort. Also, make sure that your roommates are willing to do work in other aspects such as shopping for furniture, cleaning the apartment/house when necessary, and participating in general household chores. “Before moving in together, my roommates and I created a Google Doc for everything we needed to purchase that way we could all contribute equally. It was a great way to keep everyone organized and in-check,” says student Amy Lemrye. If you’re the only person to take care of certain tasks, you’ll not only be overwhelmed and exhausted, but also possibly resentful of your roommates. Avoid this kind of negative experience by realizing— up front—how hard-working your future roomies really are.
To Party or Not to Party?
Let’s just be honest in concluding that party culture is a huge component of college culture in general. If you live for the weekends and can’t wait to throw raging parties at your off-campus house, great. Just make sure your roommates are all on the same page. On the other hand, if someone you’re considering living with is constantly going out and clearly likes partying, but you’re really not into that kind of scene, this is something for you to consider. You and your roommates should be in agreement about going out on the weekends and so forth. Maybe the types of people who party a lot are the ones you can hang out with on the weekends but not necessarily live with. This is all up to your own discretion and personal preference, so just be honest with yourself and those you’re considering as roommates. Make sure you set boundaries that you’re all comfortable with.
Make sure you really know the people you’re living with
Often people make quick judgements about who they’d like to live with because they seem like the “cool” person at the time. While you might be good friends with someone, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should live with them. Remember your roommates are the ones you’ll probably be spending the majority of time with, since you’ll always be together when you’re at home. Their character and values should be similar to yours, if not just compatible to the point where you can get along. “I wanted to live with one of my close friends that I had met earlier this year,” says first year Journalism student, Tori Leets. “Her parents already owned an off-campus house so it seemed ideal. Then, as I got to know her more, I realized she created a lot of drama and that dynamic was a deal breaker for me when I really thought about living with her,” Leets continued. Just ensure you know your roommate(s) before you sign a lease that binds you together for an entire school year.