No matter how much advice I try to give current students about their living situations, they mostly don’t listen.

OK, I get it, I’m “old” because I’m not in college anymore, but I promise, I did learn quite a few things about college life while I was there. And the majority of it was about how to pick out the best living situation for myself.

Number one, don’t share a bedroom with someone if you aren’t forced to do so. Your freshman year, it’s hard to get around this. And that’s fine because it’s a part of the college experience. But once you are a sophomore and (hopefully) aren’t forced into that anymore, it’s your time to get the heck out of that situation. Freshman year is SO much different than sophomore year and the ones after that. Classes become much harder, the pressure is on for you to get good grades and you could be juggling an internship and a part-time job along with classes. All the more reason for you to have your own bedroom. You do not want to have to deal with the added stress of putting up with sharing a bedroom. Even if it’s cheaper, DON’ T DO IT.

If you can’t afford to live off campus yet, many colleges offer suite-style living situations. My sophomore year, I lived in a suite with three other girls. We each had our own bedrooms and shared our bathrooms with one other person. It was perfect because I didn’t have to worry about turning off the light at night if I needed to study into the wee hours of the morning!

My second gem of advice is to pick who you live with VERY CAREFULLY. Make sure this person is an understanding and respectful person. Don’t pick someone just because they are the life of the party. You will still be able to party with that friend and hang out with them, but it will be on your terms. If you’re living with a party animal, you don’t have that luxury … the party will always be in your living room. If you don’t want to deal with that, then don’t live with that person.

Also, if possible, live as close to campus as you can. I decided to live somewhere about 15 minutes (on a good day) away from campus. While it was a student apartment community, that didn’t change the fact I had to leave 30 minutes before my first class started to be able to park and walk there. That got old really quickly. When I had extended breaks, it was annoying to have to kill time around campus. If I would’ve lived closer, I would’ve been able to go home and do homework in between classes (but most likely, take a nap). If I would’ve done one thing differently, I would definitely have moved closer to campus. It definitely makes your life a heck of a lot easier.

Most importantly, if you’re in doubt about where to live, ask someone who’s been there. Trust me, some good advice goes a long way!

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