The end of the fall semester is closer than it feels. Here at the University of Texas at Austin and for many college students across the nation, there is one special type of stress competing with the anxieties of finals week: the race to arrange housing for next year.
Story by Swetha Berana
Illustrations by Jasmy Liu
On campus, apartments, co-ops, roommates, suite mates ... the variables are endless. To help alleviate your apartment-finding stresses, here is a short list of trips and tricks you can use in your search process.
Good roommates > Bougie facilities!
Those of us who have ever gone random for roommates, know all too well that our roommates can have a huge impact on the energy in the room. Sleep times, personalities, guests — there’s so much potential to clash. Meanwhile, it may seem like your year will be set if you have the most beautiful kitchenette, room service, and 500 square feet of space. Yes, find a decent apartment and splurge a little if you can, but it is easier to work around minor living space inconveniences with good roommates or suite mates than it is to work around a terrible roommate. Do your research, meet people in person and most importantly — don’t room with your best friends if you know they won’t necessarily be the best people to live with.
Newest does not equal best
The much-publicized Skyloft drama which unfolded in 2016 serves as a haunting reminder that just because an apartment is marketed as the new,“cool” place to live does NOT mean it lives up to certain standards. Beware! Independently owned apartment complexes unaffiliated with longtime residential giants like American Campus Communities (which owns the Callaway House and the Castilian) don’t feel the same pressure to uphold a longtime name and often don’t put students first. Skyloft was still without walls the spring before students were slated to move in, and was hurriedly completed almost eighteen months before its scheduled date, causing structural issues. So the next time you see an advertisement or hear about the coolest new apartment complex, don’t jump to conclusions. Ask questions, do a tour and potentially get a free t-shirt!
Where’s the food at?
A seemingly simple concern, proximity to food is often overlooked. As college students, we are all too familiar with the lifestyle of 24/7 snacking and “picking something up from Guad.” Underestimating the importance of solid, healthy meals each day can be detrimental to our academic performance and physiological well-being. Keep in mind that it is going to be very difficult to find fresh fruit and vegetables! While on-campus dining halls sometimes have buffet style fruit and salad bars, remember that this won’t be an option anymore (and that Chipotle gets tiring). So prioritize those vitamins and live near a bus stop so you can make those trips to Central Market or HEB!
Live someplace familiar, but not overtly “friendly”
There are certain people who claim that living off campus is detrimental to academic performance. This is only true if you let it! It may be tempting to live somewhere with all your friends from high school, with opportunities to socialize and party only a fingertip away. While it’s important to live somewhere you know people, having easy access to distractions and people to “go out with” at all hours of the day can be detrimental — especially since apartments don’t have the level of noise restrictions and hours that dorms do. Depending on how much self control you have, choose wisely. Sometimes, it’s nice to live a little further off from your friends so that when you do decide to go out, it’s an even bigger deal. And you get the added bonus of being able to finish your homework on time, with no distractions!
Happy apartment hunting!