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How To Talk About Future Housing With Your Current Roommate

Well, folks. It’s almost the happiest time of the year. And by that, we mean the dreaded rush to find housing for the next school year.

One of the most crucial parts about figuring out your living situation isn’t necessarily where you want to live, but who you want to live with. Truth be told, there are essentially endless dorm, apartment, and housing choices, so don’t fret — there will be a place for you. The trickier part, however, is deciding who you want to live with. Especially for first-year students who have been o campus for just a week, it can seem impossible to decide who your roommate should be before you even know much about them.

To help you out, we compiled a list of things to discuss or consider with your future roommates, including how to leave ’em behind if you’re ready to move on.

Location

It’s important to know what choices you have for on-campus and off-campus housing next year. What’s even more crucial is making sure you and your potential future roommate agree on where you should live.

If you want to live on campus, perhaps you should consider differences between traditional dorms, renovated buildings, or on-campus apartment suites. Creating a list of pros and cons for location is crucial to making sure you and your roommate are on the same page. 

Cost

Money is another factor that is important to make sure you and any potential roommates discuss right away, especially for off-campus options. Don’t wait until seconds before you sign the lease to have an actual conversation about cost, because, at that point, you’re almost in too deep to change your mind and try to find another place. 

The Non-Negotiables

There are some other non-negotiables that are important to discuss before you solidify plans with a roommate. Parking, for example, is a big one. If you’re someone who is in dire need of parking but your potential roommate doesn’t consider it a necessity, that’s important to bring up so you know you can be on the same page when looking for places.

Other non-negotiables might be housing size, amenities, room-sharing, etc. If you’re not actively discussing what these non-negotiables are for you, it can complicate the process and even end up leaving you without a roommate or place to live if things take a turn for the worse.

The Dreaded “I Don’t Want To Live With You” Talk

Honestly, if you’re a student who has survived college without having to have this insanely awkward chat with a former friend (or current, if the talk went well), you’re lucky. 

Our biggest piece of advice for this chat? Don’t procrastinate. It can be hard to find who you want to live with before you even figure out the right way to swipe your ID at the IM Building, but the longer you put off this conversation, the tougher it will be.

If you live on campus and have an RA in your building, they can help you by acting as a mediator of sorts. That’s what my RA offered up to me during freshman year, and although I didn’t end up needing her, it was really helpful to know I had backup support.

Stick to the facts and the logistics in this conversation to make it as simple as possible. It’s your decision, and you’re entitled to your own feelings and opinions. It’s just that you feel it’s best that you and this potential ex-roommate go your separate ways.

If your situation is a bit more complicated because you truly want to remain friends but just don’t want to live with them, let them know your concerns about living together tainting a relationship. If needed, bring up some of those non-negotiables to support your decision.

If a potential ex-roommate takes this matter really personally and turns against you, try to keep in mind that you’re doing what’s best for you, and in the long run, it will be better. Maybe someone showing their true colors before you live together is really a blessing in disguise.

At the end of the day, just remember that getting to choose who you want to live with is the fun part. Choosing where, in the chaos that is State College, should be the hard part. And if everything ends up in flames throughout this conversation, I’m pretty sure the couches in the HUB are pretty comfy if you wind up left behind.

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About the Author

Ryen Gailey

Ryen is a senior early childhood education major from "right outside of Philly" - or in exact words, from 23.0 miles outside of Philly. She loves all things Penn State and has been a huge Penn State gal since before she could walk. Send her pictures of puppies, or hate mail at [email protected]

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