Katrina McCallum headshot

Katrina McCallum, Gazette News editor.

It's Nov. 1 — and suddenly everyone is talking about it.

“Where are you going to live next year?”

The thing is, in early November most students have no clue where they want to live or who they will live with.

And that's fine. But it feels like there's a rush to find housing before the new year. This isn't just artificial, it's harmful — it's better to wait.

If you're in first year, chances are the people you plan to live with won't be in your life two months from now.

First years panic to sign year-long leases that begin nearly six months away. Everyone says you shouldn't make plans for longer than double the relationship you're in. The same goes for roommates.

I've seen first-year friendships crash and burn by the end of the school year with signed leases looming over their heads.

Though it's hard to predict how friendships will turn out, chances are you can predict them better after knowing someone for five months, not two. So signing a lease in November is too early to commit to roommates you barely know. Try waiting until after Christmas break to make these decisions.

Some people sign leases because they think they've found the perfect house. Here's the thing: you are not buying the house, it does not have to be perfect.

On top of that, the location of your house is more important than you think. You need to consider bus routes, your grocery habits and your hobbies.

Personally, I was so caught up in the fun of residence that I barely left in my first semester. But once I did wander out into the streets of London, I knew I had to live downtown.

I quickly learned I needed a busy atmosphere and the accessibility of shops and restaurants.

And even though I waited until second semester to sign a lease, I still made mistakes. Granted, in November I thought I would be living with six girls on the south side — thank goodness that fell through.

By the end of first semester, rifts had formed between the girls I had planned to live with, and it was clear it was only going to get worse with time.

If you wait, I promise there will still be houses available. Realistically, all student housing is just different levels of bad. If you are looking for luxury those will certainly still be out there, but typical student houses are plentiful and easy to find.

Realistically you could still find a decent house the following September, or even October — there are always vacancies.

You may lose your “dream” student house but honestly, the people you live with and your location are much more important.

So stomp on the brakes and wait it out — you will find a house in January.

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