Student Essentials: 5 Tips for Living in a Shared Student Apartment
Whether you left a house full of siblings behind as you embarked on your college experience, or you grew up as a single child with all the perks and disadvantages that come with that privilege, expect there to be challenges – big and small – when you rent your first off-campus student housing apartment.
Address the Little Things ASAP
Minor irritants can quickly morph into crises of epic proportion. A pair of dirty socks tossed in the corner, water standing on the bathroom counter and a few dirty dishes in the sink may seem like nothing worth fighting about. But, someone who appreciates student living without all the signs of a lived in home on full display will eventually come unglued. It’s easier to talk about – and find a solution – for a single issue than it is to wait until the little things turn into major headaches.
Show Some Respect
Just because you can see your roommate’s stuff, that doesn’t mean you should help yourself. Don’t eat his (or her) last piece of birthday cake just because it’s been hanging out in the frig 24 hours. The same rule applies to “borrowing” shoes, clothes, sports gear and text books, unless you first get permission to do so.
Establish Guest Rules
Balancing study-time and socializing is essential in shared off-campus housing situations. Some enjoy group study marathons, while others prefer total silence while reviewing lecture notes. Be mindful of differences, and preferences when inviting guests over. And, never.never.never bring in an overnight guest to student apartments without getting property management permission and total acquiescence from your roommates. Never.
As the semester progresses, and you’ve lived with your roommates for a few weeks or a few months, revisit the ground rules. Nothing stays the same forever, and students with an open mind and willingness to change find flexibility goes a very long way toward helping your relationship thrive.
Get Realistic About Your Relationship
You and your roommates may get along superbly, share a similar circadian rhythm and even take a few classes together. That doesn’t mean you will, or even should, become attached at the hip. It’s true that some college roommates become friends for life, stand up for each other when they marry and even assume the role as godparents to future children. This isn’t always the case. Sometimes, a little distance, makes everything better.
Don’t think you’ll ever get all the problems worked out in your shared off-campus student apartment? Talk to your property management team. Transferring to another apartment may be easier than you think. And, if the student living conditions are so hard on you that your’re ready to break your lease, your house mate will probably thank you for taking the first step.