“Yea, OK, ya. Wait, nightmare. The Brita is bone dry.”
“Damn, can you fill it.”
“The sink is filled with dishes, I can’t even put the filter in there.”
“Can you just do a couple so it fits.”
“I did them last time.”
“Well I cleaned the living room.”
“Well I vacuumed.”
“Well I’m sorry I had three midterms last week.”
Sound familiar? That’s because you’re a human being living without adult supervision. Mom isn’t there to clean for you, or in my case, make me clean for myself. If you’re reading this, Mom, I appreciate all of those times you did clean after me and especially all of those times you didn’t, because I think if you didn’t make me clean up, my Davis house would be a different place. I’ve seen some houses that look like that was the childhood dynamic, and those places are not the best.
That’s not to say my house doesn’t get a little dirty from time to time. The above conversation happens much more often than it probably should. We don’t have a dishwasher in my house, or a machine to wash them either. (Get it? It’s a little joke about how we don’t wash the dishes.)
No matter your current roommate situation, it’s important to know your options. If you haven’t already done so, you are likely currently in the full swing of looking for a place to live and people to live with for next year. March and April are huge lease signing months, so I’ve decided to share some of my insight since I’ve basically experienced the full range.
The first place I lived had probably the most interesting roommate dynamics. As I mentioned in a previous article, I lost a roommate after the first quarter for video game-caused grades issues. The other roommate would wake me up early in the morning with his entire crew in the room playing and singing along to Mario Kart games. His girlfriend was always over, and the door was never shut, so I was always walking in on you know what.
Whether this was your experience or not, it is nice to make your own decisions on where and with whom you’ll live after Freshman Year.
Sophomore year I lived in apartment complex with three friends from the dorms. It definitely had its pros and cons. The first major pro is having my own room for the first time. This was incredible; I never had a queen size bed before that year, and it changed my life as a previous constant victim of rolling off of the bed. It had a pool and a hot tub, people we knew and friends we could meet. It had its disadvantages however – it was a mile and a half off of campus, like many of the apartments. If you are looking to live this far, I’d highly recommend you don’t. It will make going to class even harder than it already is.
The next two years, I lived and currently live in houses downtown through property managers. For these property managers I recommend Lyon for their good service. I recommend Ally for the good locations, but certainly not for the reason I recommend Lyon. Ally managed my house junior year, and would basically only respond if the house was actually on fire, but definitely not in a timely manner. Both of these houses were within a block of campus. I can’t stress enough how awesome it is to have this privilege. Do your best to live close, because sacrificing nice amenities for this will still mean a much more enjoyable experience overall.
In my experience living in four different locations and living situations, I have learned a thing or two about how to do it right. Here are some Dos and Don’ts for those people in similar situations as me or any living arrangement at all. It will help you on the rest of this lease and those to come.
- Try not to live with too many people. I have lived with three people in one bedroom, four in a house, and two total in a house. I lived in my fraternity house with 30 roommates (sadly or thankfully for a week only). I can honestly say even with the obvious reasons why two is better than thirty, in general less is better. The two person house has a much different dynamic than any other situation I have had. There are less dishes not getting done or chores not getting done. With four people (or thirty) you can all assume the messes are anyone elses. With two people, if you didn’t make the mess, it had to be the other person. If you vacuumed and the other person didn’t, they know its their turn next time. If you farted, the other person knows it was you.
- Switch off doing some of the bad stuff like mopping and vacuuming. Try and do your dishes as you go, obviously, but if you don’t, do them together, that way you won’t be bitter with each other. If your roommate is busy or lazy, and you do the dishes or the cleaning, they might return the favor someday. I do this time and again for Shawn, just waiting for the return part to happen! It’s only been six months!
- Try to avoid the apartment complex life but if you do it, do it right. If you’re going to live in one, make sure you are close to campus. If you are going to live in one that isn’t close to campus, live in Arlington Farms your sophomore year. It’s not close, but everyone else is doing it. It makes the situation of being too far better, and it is a regret of mine living that far from campus but in a completely different complex away from “Sophomore Central.”
- Consider some of the things that are coming with the price cuts. Weigh location and price differently, based on who you are and how early your classes are. My apartment sophomore year was by far the least expensive, but it was also the worst experience. I would rather have paid more that year to be in the house I am in now. Value some of the aspects of the house, the common areas, the nearby food, etc. These can often outweigh the positives of low rent as well.
- Get your own room. This is imperative. I have only lived with roommates for one year, but I can honestly say the money I could have saved is far inferior to having a quiet place to study, getting to go to bed and wake up on my own time, and being able to have a girlfriend/boyfriend in the hypothetical world where I could get one (to clarify, I never had one).
I have no leases left to sign in Davis, and some of you may not either (because I think my mom and dad are the only ones who read this). If you do, take into account the negatives and the positives of my wide range of living situations. If you also don’t have any more years here, you can use this again later when you move out from your old roommates’ house (mom and/or dad). The location of the house, who lives in the house with you and what the house is like can make all the difference on your year, so don’t take the decision lightly.
The UCD Files is your weekly in-depth look at our campus and the lifestyle that comes with it, featuring an occasional dropping of knowledge from a senior who has experienced it all.
Feel Free to send questions, comments, hate mail, or anything you would like to see in future articles to Adam Marx at email@example.com.
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Photo by CA Aggie Photo Team