Moving off campus with your best friends is an exciting time. For some of us, this might be the first time that we’re held responsible for bills, buying groceries, and keeping the living area clean. Living off campus means that you aren’t just responsible for your own space, but the shared space as well. While living with your best friends is one of the greatest experiences in college, you will certainly face some challenges along the way. Here’s what you can expect:
1. Getting to Know Your Roommates’ Living Habits
We all have them! Whether you know it or not, you have certain quirks and ways of doing things that perhaps some people won’t understand. Maybe your roommate tends to leave dirty dishes in the sink a little too often. Maybe you never actually change the toilet paper roll, but rather leave it resting on top of the empty one. Maybe one friend always seem to forget to shut the heat off before leaving the house. No one does these things on purpose, they simply become habits. After your first few months living together, you’ll start to notice the patterns.
Solution: Talk about it. There are certainly right ways to go about confronting roommates about habits that are bothering you. Keep in mind that you probably have habits that bother them as well. Feel free to have an open conversation where everyone in the house can offer suggestions that will make life easier for all. You can’t expect people to change their ways if you never confront them about it.
2. Kitchen Wars
Four bedrooms and one kitchen? Not always ideal for the average Collegiette. You’ll find it might be hard to fit all of your food into one kitchen. A disorderly kitchen can cause a lot of problems. Food will go bad, money will be wasted, and suddenly no one knows which loaf of bread is hers. Especially if some of your roommates pay for their own groceries it can cause a lot of tension.
Solution: Divide the kitchen. Each person in the house gets their own cabinet and shelf on the fridge. It helps keep the kitchen in order and a lot less food goes to waste. If you live with only a few people, “family” grocery shopping also works. Go together, grab what you need, and split the bill. That way the kitchen is a war-free zone and you can grab whatever you’d like whenever you’d like. Choose what works best for you.
3. Mr. Clean
Vacuuming the floors was a childhood chore that I hated the most. Why, Dad? Why do I need to vacuum the floor? There’s nothing to vacuum. It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized dirt, dust, and other “unknowns” accumulate really fast. The bathrooms? Don’t get me started. Toothpaste, hair, bobby pins – everywhere. Often times, we’re so busy we wait until it accumulates to actually do something about it. And at that point, it tends to fall on one person’s shoulders. It can be frustrating if one roommate seems to always be the one carrying out the trash bags, vacuuming the floors, and going hard with the Windex in the bathroom.
Solution: Sounds childish and causes a little “Kindergarten Class Nostalgia” but a chore list never hurt anybody. A lot of my friends who live off campus with five or more girls use this system and it works pretty well. That way everyone has a job to do and no one feels like they’re doing it alone.
You’ll face these challenges and more – but it makes the experience that much greater. Moving off campus is a great opportunity to learn about yourself and your best friends. Accept the challenges, work through them, and live your off-campus dream with the ladies who make college worth it in the first place.
Get ready to leave the dorms behind, Collegiettes!