Badvice #2: Housing 101

Two college professionals give you scoop on housing

· Sep 14, 2022 Tweet

Ahmad Hamid/The Badger Herald

Should I room with my new friends?

“First week friends” — a common experience for college freshmen. You’ll form a friend group with the first people you meet on campus and force shared interests until it all falls apart in dramatic succession. But, since leasing season is obnoxiously early in Madison, it’s a great idea to sign a joint lease with these people you’ve known for a total of four (4) days. 

I nearly did this when I was a freshman and boy, do I regret not taking that leap. By week two of my freshman year, I realized my first-week friends and I had vastly different morals, and promptly stopped hanging out with them. But, I’m someone who likes fixing people, so they probably would have turned into a fun project for me had we ended up sharing an apartment.


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Can I quickly set boundaries with my roommates via a good old-fashioned cage fight?

If you haven’t already shared a room with a sibling, then you should know the key to a good relationship with your roommates is setting expectations. How often should you clean the kitchen and the bathroom? Who does the dishes, and when? Is it OK to share clothes? What is the policy on nudity? All these questions and a thousand more must be asked and answered during the length of your lease, and the simplest way to answer them is via cage fight.

The survivor gets to set the rules, the losers have to follow them. That’s what my roommates and I did when we first met. The funny thing is, my friends and I weren’t even planning on cage fighting at first.  This new guy we picked up from Facebook, Derek, made us — I mean convinced us — to do it.

Man, Derek can be such a charmer when he wants to and is holding an apple peeler to your throat. I’ll be honest, cage fighting has a pretty steep learning curve, especially when you’re going up against somebody like Derek who has spent a couple years in prison. And it was a little awkward for the month or two that it took for our facial wounds to heal — who knew that you couldn’t grow a nose back? — but after a while, we got used to it. Now it’s just a normal part of life in the Derek Household. You disobey Derek? Get in the cage. Get it over with.

Obviously, Derek won and thank the Lord he did. A real natural leader, Derek. He lets us keep up to one-sixth of what we bring back from the grocery store ourselves, and we only have to do his homework two out of every three nights. Yeah, sure, he makes us cage fight each other over and over and over again just to keep the excitement of our relationships alive, but honestly? That’s only made me a stronger person and a better friend. 

Seriously, I know Derek and my roommates so much better now. Jacob loves to go for the reverse-suplex-knee-to-face combo. Matt cries like a baby when you kick his left knee. Derek is unbeatable. And after three years of this stuff, I find a sort of comfort in knowing my place in the pack hierarchy. It’s like knowing your zodiac sun sign AND rising, only better. I’m a beta omega male — that’s only three from being number one!!! I’m this close.


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How can I assert dominance over my roommate in a non-violent manner?

I once shared a room with a roommate who would sleep naked. This is a great way to assert dominance over whoever you’re cohabitating with. Waking up in the morning to see my roommate’s entire bare ass was definitely not how I expected to start my days. But, I will admit that I didn’t dare confront her about it. I let her continue this behavior, simply to avoid the potential awkwardness of that conversation. 

To clarify, I’m not condoning showing your nude body to those you live with. In many cases, this would be considered harassment. But, as someone who’s been on the receiving end of this deal, it’s undoubtedly effective at making someone the Alpha Roommate.


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Should I take advantage of poor plumbing to create an indoor compost heap?

One thing I have never regretted in all my years at college was building my own compost heap. It first started when I found that I had accidentally created a colony of poisonous fungi in my pantry by forgetting to put my Great Value Vanilla Yogurt and green grapes back in the fridge. But then it became so much more. After Derek locked me in the house for failing his calc 2 quiz, I got so bored I had just a little bite of that poisonous fungus. Once the initial seizures and projectile vomiting passed, I started to see things. See the TRUTH. Little machine elves that only I could see whispered all sorts of wisdom to me that only I could hear and I just knew I couldn’t let that fungus pile die. I had to worship it. 

Now, I sacrifice everything to that fungus pile. Half of all the food Derek allows me. Dirty clothes, scraps of paper. The pantry isn’t big enough for it anymore, so I share my room with it. Just as it shares its wisdom with me.


No advice given in “Badvice” should be followed or taken seriously. Please don’t engage in cage fights or sleep naked in a shared bedroom. To submit a question to “Badvice,” click here.


This article was published Sep 14, 2022 at 2:00 pm and last updated Sep 11, 2022 at 12:12 pm


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