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The ups and downs of housing sign-ups

Molly Sherman
Student Writer

One of the most stressful times of the year is upon us—housing sign-ups. Housing rarely goes smoothly as students usually encounter at least one obstacle throughout the housing process.

Rhonda King, assistant director of Residence Life, says two of the most common issues she sees in housing are students having difficulty finding a roommate and students not being completely honest with each other about who they want to room with.

“Every year I hear from someone who was told at the last minute that the person they expected to live with is no longer interested in living with them,” King says.

Sophomore social work major Mallorie Benensky is experiencing that problem right now, with her would-be apartment group. The fifth person in her apartment decided to room with another group only a few days before two-bedroom apartment verification.

“Now we’re not sure we’ll get an apartment at all,” Benensky says.

Different issues can also arise when you have to decline rooming offers. “People keep asking us to room with them, but we don’t want to,” junior engineering major Vaughn Chambers says of his housing group.

Chambers says that although he tries to communicate this in a friendly way, he feels that it’s difficult “to be nice to everyone when you’re doing housing.”

Overall, housing can cause stress for students and tension in groups. If you can’t find a roommate or another person for an apartment, end up in a different building than you originally planned or just have to keep breaking it to your friends that you don’t want to room with them, what do you do?

Dave Downey, director of Residence Life, has a lot of advice for students on this subject. The best tip Downey gives is to engage in honest, face-to-face conversations with friends about rooming. Using “passive aggressive communication or abandonment” is no way to approach uncomfortable housing situations, according to Downey. Open communication can preserve friendships and save friends from housing panic.

Rhonda King also identifies options for students in housing predicaments. “If a student is in need of a roommate, I refer them to the Roommate Finder,” King says. Many students have found success using the roommate finder on Housebook, and King sees it as a useful resource.

King also notes housing takes appeals from students who feel they should have been given an apartment, but were declined. King advises students to talk with their R.D.s, check the housing website or email her if they have any questions about the process.

And if students are still dissatisfied with housing, Downey reminds students to “recognize the incredible privilege it is to live and learn at Messiah, no matter the housing assignment!” Regardless of who they room with or where they live, students at Messiah will still be able to participate in the community on campus.

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