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Roommate roulette: Who you live with can change everything

Your freshman year is almost over. Yes, it’s true, and even though it feels like you moved into your residence hall only last week, you now have to figure out where you’ll live next year.

Whether you’re thinking about moving into a two-bedroom apartment, six-bedroom house, a nice garage, a cavernous studio, or a refurbished meth kitchen, you’ll have a chance to choose who you’ll live with next year. But be warned: beautiful friendships have withered and died because taking out the trash became a matter of principle.

Before you decide to room with your fantastic, but slightly unhygienic, best friend or move in with the suspiciously friendly person you met on Craigslist, why not see some advice from those who have gone before?

A good option is to move in with close friends. You like the same music, the same food, and you’ve shared the triumph and the trauma of freshman year. A zero-risk idea right?

“Moving in with friends can be a risk,” University senior business major Anna Halladay said. “I would consider it, but you have to understand going in that there’s going to be some pressure on your relationship.”

Galen Scovell, a chemistry major at Lane Community College, thinks you have to know what you’re getting yourself into.

“Presumably you know them well,” he said. “If you move in together after only knowing them for three months, you’ll probably end up hating each other.”

University marine biology major Ashley Nelson said getting a sense of your friends’ conflict or argument style is important.

“If they get angry, or sad or just lock themselves in their rooms, that’s something to think about,” she said.

But who’s closer than that extra special someone? Perhaps you and your significant other would like to find a cozy one-bed apartment.

“I think you need to have lived on your own first,” English major Alex Fus said. “Learn more about yourself and other people. If you break up with someone, don’t forget that you still have a legally binding contract to live in the same place for a year.”

Many people will have to room with someone they’ve never met. Scovell said there is some wisdom in this.

“If it’s a friend you move in with, sometimes you get ignored because you know them,” he said. “But if it’s a stranger then you have to keep certain boundaries.”

And who knows, perhaps you and that stranger roommate will end up clicking easily. University journalism major Quinn Sansom found one of his best friends when he answered an ad for a three-bedroom place on Craigslist.

“He seemed really trustworthy right off the bat and just gave me the keys without asking for a deposit or anything,” Sansom said.

So what are some good tips on finding great roommates? Mutual respect is a good idea. As well as cleanliness — at least in common areas.

“A good supply of pizza,” said Michael Nilson, a University undergraduate and Scovell’s roommate. “Also, they shouldn’t bring uninvited guests over all the time.”

“Room with people you know and like, but you won’t be heartbroken if it doesn’t work out,” Fus said.

“Someone with good communication skills,” Halladay said. “And they can cook. That’s a big plus.”

What does a good roommate relationship look like? It can take many forms, from close friends who share every meal, to a rent-paying ghost that seems to only occasionally inhabit the house.

Nilson and Scovell have their own fond memories of bonding.

“There was this huge confrontation in the kitchen one time. A continuous back and forth of ‘your mom,'”Nilson said.

“That wasn’t one day. That was like the whole week!”  Scovell said.

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