Roommates are tricky things. Either you feel physically ill starting a conversation with them or you and your roomies finish one another’s sentences. Even if you got along in the dorms, off-campus apartment living will challenge your relationship once rent and dance-till-dawn parties come into play. Fighting over party time versus study time will either make you stronger friends or mortal enemies. Here are some tough issues that could make or break your off-campus roommate relationships.
Communication can MAKE your experience.
In a dorm room: A dorm’s small space almost forces roommates to get to know one another. When you’re both done with classes, you go back to your room and chitchat about your day. Constant communication in this setting builds healthy and long-lasting relationships that could bring you into an apartment together.
Off-campus apartment: With the additional space and conflicting schedules, some roommates hardly ever see one another. Touching base with weekly meet-ups or dinners can make a friendship last and let both of you know how the other is doing.
Rent can BREAK your experience.
In a dorm room: Semester payments for meal plans and housing factor into tuition, and if you are lucky enough, mom and dad cover the expenses. Your personal money goes to snacks, movies or the entrance fee to a dirty frat party. Bills aren’t bothering you just yet.
Off-campus apartment: Having your own place means paying for your own things. You’ll need to buy furniture and stock cabinets. Rent will also creep up on you like clockwork every month. Make sure your off-campus roommate is trustworthy with this concept.
Temple University computer engineering major Ryan Piotti explained how rent burdens struggling college students but said that his experience wasn’t really difficult. “I mean it’s a pain to have to pay separate bills like utilities monthly rather than a flat dorm rate but it is better because you get a lot more space and value,” Piotti explained. “In most cases, apartments are still cheaper [than dorms].”
Personal space can MAKE your experience.
In a dorm room: Unfortunately, a dorm’s cramped space make you forfeit this privilege. My dorm floor had a communal bathroom and when I finished a shower, I’d hull my bath caddy back to my room to change. Sometimes I had the room to myself and got to let it all hang out and other times I needed to cover up the girls and south of the border.
Off-campus apartment: With a new apartment comes your own room. A room with a door you can open and close to study or let in whomever you want. What a thrill! You love your roommates to death, but you always need a little you time to chill and catch up on the Real Housewives and Game of Thrones.
Piotti said that having your own space can lessen the roommate tension of living in a dorm room. “Personal space is definitely harder in a dorm room because you share close quarters with each other,” Piotti said. “It definitely is preferable for most people to have their own rooms and space.”
Cleanliness can break your experience.
In a dorm room: When things get messy in a small space, the sight or smell will prompt you to clean. Also, no sink! A two-person dorm room hardly fits the small fridge and microwave, let alone a plumbing system. No sink equals zero dirty dishes. You and your roommate worked out the kinks of your teeny-tiny living space without too much difficulty, since it’s just a 15 by 13 foot room.
Off-campus apartment: “Where is the clean person I knew and what has this sloppy creature done with her?” you may ask yourself. Yes, in a confined space, your dorm roommate had to be as clean as possible. But now with a kitchen, bathrooms, a living room and multiple bedrooms, her used tissues and dirty plates might stay on the coffee table for a few days.
Temple University graduate Joey Contino said that it was difficult to find off-campus apartment roommates who fit his personal criteria. “When I was looking for roommates, I had a strict list of dos and don’ts,” Contino said. “I was looking for guys who were clean, who didn’t smoke, who didn’t mind cats and who knew the difference between party time and study time.”
Not only does moving into an apartment involve heavy lifting and trips to Ikea, but there are other factors that go into deciding if an apartment really is or isn’t for you. Talk with your roommates, think about what you would like your apartment to be and consider what factors will go into making or breaking your experience.
(Main Photo Via quickmeme.com)