Living on your own for the first time can be liberating. Finally, you can live the way you want and come and go as you please without your parents telling you what to do or asking you where you’ve been. It’s one of the many steps you take when you start shifting into adulthood and finally make some of your own decisions.
But sometimes, depending on how your residence is set up when you move out to university or college, or whether or not you can afford to live off-campus, you may have to live with roommates. Rooming with some new people can also be a great experience, especially when you move to a place where you don’t know anybody; it can be comforting to know that there is someone else who may feel just as lost as you.
But like with anything, there can be negatives when you start to live with other people. Even if you get along with your roommate or roommates personality-wise, there are some things, like habits, that you can’t change. Ever since I left home for university, I have lived with roommates. When I got my first real job out of post-secondary, I had no other option but to live with roommates because I couldn’t afford to live independently. So I would like to think that I have quite the experience of living with other people.
Con: Cleaning isn’t a communal thing.
If you’re an immaculate person, your room will be the only place that will live up to the standard you have about how germ-free and organizing your house or apartment should look—making a chore chart does not work. I am telling you from experience. No matter how many house meetings you call and how many times you tell the other person that as long as they wash and put away their dishes,
everything will be fine, don’t even bother. Especially if people are messy or disorganized, they will not care. I know it’s hard because I am immaculate, but if you think about it from the perspective that you will not be in this situation forever, it helps. As long as you keep your room clean, tidy up after yourself, and keep your Tupperware and such away from everyone else, I promise you that you will survive.
Pro: Rent is usually cheaper.
I don’t think it applies to people living in residence because from what I remember, if you paid for a double room, there was a set fee, and then whatever the price was for the meal plan, it was added on top of it. But when I moved for my job, there was no way that I would be able to afford an apartment or a basement apartment on my own. So this is when living with other people can come in handy because the total rent is just split up between two or more people, and it can be so much easier on your bank account.
Con: You can end up living with weird or inconsiderate people.
Living with roommates can open your eyes to the different people out there. Not to be rude or anything, I know that everybody is different, and each to their own, but I’ve had bizarre experiences. Some people are just way too open about everything. They will tell you all of their stories and experiences, no matter how embarrassing, without you asking. People will also walk around as if they live alone. Then you have some people who won’t say a single word to you, even if you say “Good Morning!” or ask them “How they are?” and they stare awkwardly at you. Then some roommates think it’s okay to take your food or ingredients without asking or break some of your appliances, thinking you will be OK with it.
Con: Everything is shared.
The kitchen, bathroom, and living space are the worst for this. Not only are you sometimes sharing things like appliances, but you’re sharing the actual living space. Someone is already in there when you want to use the kitchen to meal prep for the week. Someone hopped in before you when you tried to shower in the morning. You want to watch The Bachelor; someone is watching some sports game. From my experience, it isn’t all that bad if you find a way to work around it. You can PVR everything on TV now or watch episodes of shows or movies on your laptop in your room. When you live with people for a while, you start to figure out their schedule (I know it sounds creepy), but if you know roughly when people get ready in the morning, what time they have to get up and leave for work, and when they usually make their dinners, you can use the bathroom and the kitchen outside of those times, so you don’t find yourself in a rush in the morning, or people aren’t in your way.
Pro: You can end up having a best friend.
This is the best. I know I’ve had a lot of bad experiences, but when you’re finally able to be in a situation where you love living with the people you live with, it’s fantastic! There’s always someone to hang out with, share your frustrations with, and share weird and hilarious things that have happened to you. You also have people to go out with on the weekends. It can enhance your life and make the week fly by because you’re not dreading coming home from a long day at work or school. Even if it may be temporary, who knows, they can become lifelong friends.