It is that time of year again. We are finally just getting settled into the school year — figuring out and finalizing our schedules, exploring new parts of campus and maybe getting used to new roommates.
Unfortunately, this is also the time when apartment complexes start pressuring us students into signing leases. Students, however, need to be more prudent and not cave into the pressure from these companies.
There are certain, necessary reasons to sign later rather than sooner.
First is to make sure you actually can live in a suitable manner, which benefits everyone, with your roommates. It does not matter how good of friends each of you are. What is more important is roommate compatibility.
I define this compatibility in two ways: temperaments that work well together and goals for the upcoming year. The temperament portion of this definition requires a lot of self-awareness and knowledge about yourself. Who can you get along with? What kind of people annoy you? What do you expect out of a roommate? These are all questions pertinent to having a successful roommate relationship.
Semester goals may be an odd feature of compatibility, but I believe it is even more important than having similar temperaments that mesh well together. Whether you are an A student or one barely hanging on to graduation, roommates need a similar level of seriousness and commitment to school work. This is especially important for students who are extremely committed and serious about their schooling, so they should have a home life that promotes positive study habits and work ethic.
Students should also to explore all the housing options the campus area has to offer. This goes beyond merely deciding whether to live in a house or apartment. It is weighing how important amenities are to you, as a consumer. Sure, The Hub has a pool on the roof, but how often are you going to swim? Remember, for six months out of the year, it is cold in Wisconsin. No pool is fun when it is frozen over.
Also, it depends how fond you are of older places, places with character. These are the veritable shit holes around campus. We’ve all seen them — places where it looks like a stiff wind could blow it over. It’s important that everyone you plan on living with can find a happy middle between these two extremes.
Remember there is plenty of time to sign. Ignore the emails saying if you don’t sign now, the spots available will be gone. That is a lie. One can find true gems around campus with some digging. Don’t throw that away because of the sign “before it’s too late” campaigns.
Aaron Reilly ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in social work and economics.