By Gabrielle Lamontagne
Change is awful and scary and wonderful. Which is why people hate it so much, or at least they hate to think about it (and oh the stress!).
Unfortunately, there comes a time in all of our lives when change is inevitable. That time is upon us: the housing search. There are many decisions to be made, the first and foremost of which is who to live with. If you choose to keep rooming with the same people, that’s great! But it’s not always the practical option. I loved my roommates from freshman year, but we all had different ideas of where we wanted to be living on campus next year, so we had to look for new roommates who shared our housing ideals. Just like breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend who doesn’t share your opinions, breaking up with your current roommates can be sad, sentimental, or downright depressing. That doesn’t mean it’s the wrong thing to do. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t still be friends or that you didn’t love living with them. It’s just not right for you anymore, and that’s okay! Not all breakups are bad and not all good relationships are meant to be forever. The right time and space are factors of as much importance as compatibility — and that goes for roommate relationships, too.
Choosing a new roommate is harder (and more stressful) than you’d think, especially if most of your friends already have a plan for whom their rooming with next year and you don’t. Freshman year wasn’t so bad though, right? The university chose your roommates for you and (for most of us) they turned out to be great friends! The only problem is that the university won’t choose a random roommate for you if you’re an upperclassman. Instead, you have to hunt down those random roommates yourself — usually using the Roommate Classifieds through Blackboard. Surfing the ads there can be tedious and unfulfilling, especially because they aren’t updated, so you can never know if a spot advertised for has been filled. Sending an email to the person who posted means that they might respond, but and it might take a month for them to find your email in their spam folder. That’s frustrating. I think that’s a big part of why I’ve noticed so many people advertising for roommates, rooms, or houses on the UNH Class of 2017 Facebook page. It’s easier to get a quick response from a multitude and a variety of people on a social media site that most people in our generation are comfortable navigating than from a page, on a school website, that many people don’t even know exists, let alone use.
However, if you can’t find a new roommate in time, don’t sweat it! Rooming alone can seem scary and impractical financially, especially if you’ve never done it before. It’s not the best way to bond or make friends, but it does mean you can decorate your new room with whatever posters you want – guilty pleasures not excluded (I stand by my choice of 80s movie posters and beer-on-tap string of lights)! You also don’t have to worry about other people getting you in trouble for their bad (or illegal) habits. Honestly, having a single last semester was a blessing in disguise. Yes, I missed my roommates making me go out and do things with them, but I also didn’t have to worry about waking anybody else up when I left or returned to the room early in the morning or late at night. I plan to have roommates again this year, not because I didn’t love the single life (pun intended), but because I need people pushing me to socialize and because it’s a safer financial choice.
If you have problems last minute with housing selection, often because there’s a hold placed on your account, it shouldn’t cause you to break out in a rash. Blackboard lists any and all holds placed on your account, and the people in the administrative offices are very helpful if you explain clearly and concisely your problem. Last year, I had a hold on my account because my doctor’s list of my medical history hadn’t been received. A few hours and calls later, my medical history had been faxed to Health Services and the hold was removed in plenty of time for me to select a room that I liked. Totally not stress-worthy.
In the process of changing rooms and halls, UNH has a first-come first-serve policy. So if you don’t end up getting the exact room or hall that you wanted, it can be frustrating. It’s stressful, of course, but it also isn’t something that you can change. As cliché as it is, you can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need. And that’s all that matters.
Gabrielle Lamontagne is a sophomore double-majoring in French and business administration. She is currently studying abroad in Dijon, France.