In part one, Housing a Passion for Art, we covered the where; now it’s time to discuss the who and the how.
For economic as well as social reasons, most students opt for living arrangements that put them in close proximity to one or more roommates during their time at PCA&D. Obviously, making good choices in the beginning is important.
While PCA&D’s housing referral service is highly experienced in guiding students toward roommates with similar interests and living habits, the student makes the final selection— which may sound like the end of the process, but it’s really just the beginning.
Discovering your lifestyle
There’s more to living harmoniously with others that most of us consciously realize. “That’s why we suggest that students draft a roommate agreement. PCA&D provides a sample agreement in the Housing Guide,” says Director of Student Life & Housing Jane Higinbotham. “We want students to address these lifestyle issues right away.”
“We ask students to consider issues such as cleanliness, food, parties, visitors, pets, and borrowing,” she says. “For example, everyone’s room is their private space. But what about common areas such as kitchen, living room, and bathroom? Whose responsibility is it to keep them clean? These things need to be discussed.”
Parents and students meet with landlords during the April "Meet and Greet" event at PCA&D.
Shopping, sharing, and food
Roommates sometimes pool their resources when it comes to food. The alternative is for everyone to buy their own groceries. “Whatever you decide, be sure to designate a space for shared items and label items that are intended for individual use,” advises Higinbotham. “It’s a big deal, because you’ll be living on a budget.”
Some first-year students know how to cook, but many don’t, so families would do well to teach their non-cookers how to make a few inexpensive items like spaghetti and salads. A few trips to the grocery store over the summer can serve to familiarize students with the costs of such staples.
“One of the things we do is talk to students and their families about preparing a budget to cover things like rent, food, books and supplies” says Higinbotham. “Once they have a chance to compare their financial aid, savings and potential income from a part-time job or work study, I suggest that they sit down and figure out what they'll need on a monthly basis.”
Although first-year students sometimes wear clothes so long they develop a personality of their own, the laundry still isn’t going to walk itself down to the laundromat. Families can do new students a favor by paying a visit to a laundromat for purposes of familiarization. It’s a novel experience for some, and part of learning to live in the world as an adult.
PCA&D’s Student Life: Housing page.
Real Simple: How to do Laundry
The Healthy College Cookbook
Creating a College Budget | ABC News
College Toolkit | Choosing a College Roommate