Housing, My Worst Nightmare

At SSU, once you become a second semester sophomore, it becomes time to look for off campus housing.  Because of SSU being somewhat of a small school, there’s not enough housing to accommodate the whole student body.  Meaning it’s time to make a decision about whether you’re gonna move home, live with a group of people, or even transfer to a school closer to home and save money.  All very difficult decisions to make when you’re only 19 or 20 years old.

Once it became the time to look for off campus housing, me and a group of my friends decided to live together next year.  In the past couple months, we have bounced between houses and apartments, how many people were gonna live with, cost, co-signers etc. All while our parents are concerned that we haven’t found housing yet.

Personally, I am paying for rent on my own amongst a car payment, sorority dues, and credit card bills, so affordability is my primary concern.  Since the October fires, rent has skyrocketed across the entire county, making a shared bedroom in a 2 bed 2 bath apartment $500 or more, plus PG&E, Water, trash etc. Not so friendly for a broke college student…

Since I am from southern California, I seriously considered transferring schools and moving home. Was staying in Sonoma even worth it?  Could i be a full time student working between 30-35 hours a week? Could I afford rent every month if i were to take a day off? But after weeks of deliberation with my family, I decided to stay and do whatever I could to stay.  This requires finding a new job and working at least 10 extra hours a week and budgeting every penny I make. This also means sticking to the price I gave my roommates, whose original budgets were almost double mine, because their parents are paying rent for them.  

Housing has become my biggest fear because it has been months of constantly checking Zillow and Trulia, dealing with renters, figuring out lease agreements and vetoing apartments I knew I couldn't afford, even if my roommates loved it. But, all in all this has been a huge learning experience for me. I have learned a lot about standing up for myself and sticking to my guns, even if it meant standing up to my closest friends. I have learned the ups and downs of looking for housing, and how truly hard this process is. Most importantly, I have learned to understand the struggle affordable housing is.   Just to place a roof over your head, you must make double what the rent is and have a certain credit score. If you don't, you must find a co-signer, but how are you supposed to do that if you have no family or friends that can, or wants do that for you? I wish I could give an answer for this question, but there is a serious problem with housing in the state of California for all people, but especially young people. People in college or just graduated who don’t have amazing credit yet, or makes an income that’s double their rent, or family that can help cosign or help pay for rent. And people have the audacity to ask why so many of our generation still lives at home...