Yours, Mine & Ours

Before arriving to IU, many of us were spoiled with our own room. Even those who shared a room with a sibling certainly weren’t used to splitting half a room with someone unrelated or, more daunting, a mere stranger.

While I certainly took for granted the luxury of having my own room before I started school, I’ve become quite familiar with adapting to new living situations.

From sleeping in a dorm to a sorority house to an apartment, each one comes with its own perks and its own surprises.

The key, I’ve learned, is to recognize what works and expand on that in order to make the space comfortable and all your own.

Dorm life

I was one of the fearless freshmen who decided to really spice up my life by sharing a room with a complete stranger from the Washington, D.C. area. I won’t lie, the first night when all you can hear is each other’s heavy breathing as you attempt to fall asleep is very bizarre.

However, the good thing about living with a stranger is that they aren’t one for very long. While I lucked out and had a roommate that became a best friend, sharing a room still requires a great deal of consideration for the other person.

Little things like asking if it’s OK to turn off the lights or plugging in headphones to your laptop when watching Netflix will do amazing things for the situation and your roommate relationship.

An important tip that can be hard to grasp immediately is that you don’t have to converse with your roommate 24/7. Just like you, your roommate has an appreciation for the solitude found behind a book or movie.

Of course, you should chat and hopefully be friends, but don’t feel like silence is awkward. In such small quarters, you’ll quickly find that silence is your key to sanity. This space can easily be made to feel at home. Just fill your space with the things you had in your room at your parents house (only, just half of them).

One big house

Lodging in a sorority has unbelievable perks. The worries of sleeping beside a stranger aren’t a problem because you get to share a space with someone you’ve already gotten to know and have grown to become great friends with.

It’s a nice situation, because unlike the coldness of sharing a hallway with people you don’t know, you are familiar with all of the women or men in the rooms beside you.

Academics aren’t forgotten in the slightest in this setting either. In my house, there is a large designated space filled with comfortable chairs and desks to create the perfect atmosphere to get work done. The only downside can be if you really are longing for some alone time, you will have a hard time trying to fulfull that desire.

Thankfully, all houses are located on campus allowing for easy escapes to Wells or the Union for space and quiet. When in this living situation, don’t be afraid to add your own flavor to the house. This can mean decorative or just personal flare that is recognized by your housemates.

Be bold in your presence.

Apartment living

While I’ve quite enjoyed the other two living environments, I didn’t truly feel like an adult until I settled into my very own apartment for the first time. There is a sense of ownership in moving into your room and thinking, ‘this is my space!’

If you are one for privacy and isolation, then there is no other way to go. It’s back to the good ole’ days with an apartment, as you have your own room again. You finally have a place that you may decorate as you wish and stay up until the crack of dawn in without worry of disturbing someone a few feet away. However, there is a catch.

Firstly, apartments, for the most part, are not on campus and require some form of transportation to get to class each day. In addition to transportation, a bigger space that is all yours comes with your commitment to frequently filling the fridge and consistently cleaning.

Naturally, with freedom comes responsibility. My advice is be sure you are ready. Having an apartment with no food in the fridge is not something you want to be proud of.

Once you’ve done that, you’re good to go. Making this space yours is the easiest in this situation because apart from the stationary furniture, your canvas is blank. Have at it.