Volume 94, Issue 70
Friday, January 26, 2001
Finding home sweet home, hard very hard
Finding the right off-campus home can make or break your year at the Western.
It's true. The right apartment/townhouse/refrigerator box you call home for eight months can mean the difference between the dean's list and countless friends, or taking the Greyhound home Thursday night and arriving back Monday morning.
So, for those waving good-bye to the coddling of residence life, to those of you walking away from four roommates turned mortal enemies to start a new life heed my word on the perils of off-campus housing.
It all begins with choosing the right roomies. All guys can be very laid back, but most can get very messy. On the other hand, girls can be much cleaner, but exceptionally catty. The hybrid can bring the perfect mix of easing tension and tidiness, but can result in people 'enjoying' each other's 'company' a little too much.
In the end, it's all about balance.
The decision between living 'by the gates,' 'by the Flying Tomato,' or downtown, must also be answered. Each jurisdiction has their merits the gates and the Tomato have nice houses and a lot of students, but is a long walk from the heart of campus and a long cab/bus ride from shopping and the bars. Downtown is, well, downtown. Bars, restaurants, the train tracks however long, bus rides and the five-O are always trouble.
Living in a student ghetto or a free standing house/apartment can also cause headaches. Student ghettos are fun with an almost residence like feel, with lots of parties and little to no law enforcement. This makes them prime break-in hot spots during holiday breaks.
Unfortunately it usually comes down to the eight month lease versus the 12 month lease. Twelve month leases suck wasting $325 dollars is one thing, but having to do it four times really blows. Try desperately to get an eight month but keep in mind landlords aren't dumb. Sublet if you can, but leave nothing valuable or burnable while you're away.
Stay away from the houses with abnormally different sized rooms. First of all, what's with the architects in this town that draw up their plans having two decent sized rooms, two small rooms and one room where you have to sleep standing up? Choose a house with structurally similar living quarters to avoid fights and the potential of having fifth choice.
Choose wisely between a room upstairs or on the main level/downstairs. The good and bad points vary between these locations. Upstairs is traditional, but can get crowded with busy bathrooms and increased bed-spring noise. Middle floors and downstairs can be more private but often can have noisy morning traffic, causing trollism in certain people.
So as you trek the streets on the peripheral of this fine university and before you sign any lease, take these words to heart your transcript and social life will thank-you for it.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000