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What It’s Like to Have a House In College

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Susqu chapter.

Adulthood feels like something a lot of us jump right into the second we leave high school or even earlier sometimes. It can be strange and disorienting. We were once kids whose main responsibility was making sure homework was turned in on time or else that one teacher would dock off points. But once we are out, it is like we have to begin figuring out everything on our own.

I know some people who are looking for or have found apartments to live in while they are in college. That is a lot of research I never had to do because my school has its students live on campus. But then, there’s Olivia, and her story is a little different. She is in college and in the middle of the semester at the moment, but she also has her own house that she rents. She started living in this new house a year ago. It feels different from an apartment. Unlike a dorm room, there is more space to take care of besides your little room. You might have a lawn or a backyard where grass has to be cut. You might have a garden that you want to tend. You have to clean the bathroom, living room, and kitchen. There is so much to consider, and it turns out to be a bigger responsibility than you realize.

How did it feel to rent a house on your own?

It felt strange to be moving out of the house that I grew up in. I lived there for most of my life. It was also a unique situation since my mom was separating from my dad and coming with me. It was also exciting because it was a new chapter in my life that I was eager to start.

What was the process for house renting like?

The process of renting was a little bit difficult because we moved during COVID-19, there weren’t many houses available for rent that allowed animals and that all of my roommates could afford. You don’t realize how much it costs to move into some place new, between start-up costs, furniture, first and last month’s rent, and security deposit. I started the process with about 7,000 dollars and drained all of my savings.

What were you looking for in a living space?

I was looking for something different when moving. At times my childhood home was toxic and I really wanted a change of energy.

What made you choose the house that you rented?

We chose the house we moved into because it was the first house that fit what we needed and was in the area where we wanted to live. We wanted to stay close to where everyone works and close to where my dad lives with my brothers.

What is something you wish someone told you sooner about the process?

I wish someone told me to make sure that everything is split fairly (utilities, chores, food costs) and to know who you’re moving in with. My roommate and my mom became different people once we moved, or maybe I did not know who they really were. Either way, I wish I knew more before we moved.

What additional costs did you find out that you needed to factor in while renting?

Additional costs include literally everything. You never realize how much pots, pans, dishes, towels, cleaning supplies, and other things like that cost when you aren’t the one paying for them.

How does having a pet impact what you are looking for?

Having a pet limits renting options by a lot. Especially having both a cat and a dog, most places allow only one or the other. It took a while to find a place that allowed both. Having animals actually made the rent go up 85 dollars a month.

Since you also have people who live with you, what should people consider before having housemates?

Make sure your roommates are reliable and that you get along with them. Sometimes they fool you into thinking that they are helpful, consistent, and caring when in reality they are lazy and don’t really care that much. If having more than one roommate, make sure that they both get along and not just that you get along with them. Sometimes you get stuck in the middle of their drama.

How did you overcome the anxiety of having to make a big choice like this?

I am not sure I overcame the anxiety to get through the moving process. I kinda just knew it was something that needed to happen and that it would be very stressful along the way. Sometimes there are things that are anxiety-inducing that you can’t get out of and that is necessary, and that’s what moving felt like to me.

When you consider all of this, it makes getting a home kind of daunting. One thing to note from this is that you need to be able to think carefully about the choices you make. It is a lot to cover the cost of the home, along with other bills and necessities. You need roommates to help lower your personal expenses. So overall, you have some choices to consider. However, it is going to be alright. Everyone starts from somewhere, like Olivia, but you will learn as you go.

Jena Lui

Susqu '23

To go on an adventure means to set off into a new environment and to take it all in, keeping what is important to you.