UC Charity Drag Show

Coming into university I knew that there was going to be a mile long list of ‘firsts’:

My first time doing my own laundry, first 500 person lecture, first time spending over 12 hours in a library. 

However I don’t think I could have prepared myself for what came along with last year’s University College Charity Drag Show: my first time watching a friend get dressed up in drag and perform on stage to Beyoncé

My best friend Chim dancing to Beyonce at last year's drag show

My best friend Chim dancing to Beyonce at last year’s drag show

So when I got invited to this year’s 2nd Annual University College Drag show – I knew I couldn’t turn it down! With a killer line up of performers and all the proceeds going to Toronto’s LBGT Youthline it was sure to be a great night. 

Since my first day at University College, the attitude towards diversity and acceptance has overwhelmed me.  Encouraging everyone to love themselves no matter what they looked like, where they came from, or who they loved, has always been one of the things I’ve admired most about my college.

My crazy group of friends supporting Chim after his amazing performance!

My crazy group of friends supporting Chim after his amazing performance!

Events like the drag show are what really inspired me to get involved with my college, and was even one of the events that pushed me to apply for my Life@UofT job.  I wanted to experience more of these amazing events, and help other people experience them too. 

As for the event itself, let me start by saying that these Queens outdid any makeup or hair I could ever do. (I’m also now a firm believer that men wearing skirts and heels should be a daily occurrence, as I have never seen legs look so good in my life)  The Kings were equally impressive, rocking everything from the Beiber flow to baggy pants.

However, the real jaw-dropping happened when they took the stage.  Dancing to everything from 80s fem-rock classics, to today’s top 40, these men and women gave Rue Paul’s Drag Race a run for their money. 

To compliment these amazing performances, the UClit throws quite the party.  The JCR was dimly lit with oversized couches and an enormous amount of food. The performances were broken up with raffles and hilarious commentary by the MCs. 

One of the art instillations created by the AVSSU, that acted as the stage backdrop

One of the art instillations created by the AVSSU, that acted as the stage backdrop

This year the JCR was also covered in art instillations. The Architecture and Visual Studies Student Union created five different stunning art instillations that added another layer of interest and entertainment to the event. 

However the best part of the night wasn’t the beautiful art, the delicious food or amazing performances.  It was the palpable energy that ran through the air.  There was an undeniable sense of carefreeness.  These men and women were up there, dancing and having a good time, without an ounce of worry that someone was going to judge them or laugh at them.  They were supporting an amazing cause while getting one of the most memorable experiences of their life.  But most of all, they were just having fun. 

Living in a big city and going to such a diverse school, it can be easy to forget the rest of the world.  That hundreds of boys and girls live every day hiding who they are out of fear of being punished or ridiculed.  Thats why unique events such as this are so important.  They help make this school and, in a small way the rest of the world, a better place.

Overcoming my Fear of Professors

Up until last Thursday, I don’t think I had ever actually seen a professor up close. 

I mean, sure, I’ve sat front row in lecture or passed them while walking to class, but I am really bad at actually talking to my professors. I never bring my questions to them after class, or go to their office hours. I do all of these things with my TAs, but something about actually talking to a professor intimidates me. 

I think that I’m always worried I’ll sound stupid, or that I won’t have anything worth occupying their time with. When in reality, my philosophy professor would probably actually enjoy discussing Plato with me. I mean, isn’t that kind of why you become a teacher? To teach

Photo of a professor looking over a whiteboard as a student writes on it

Image via. http://www.news.utoronto.ca/

So when I was invited to the UCLit Coffee with the Profs: A Panel Discussion on Poverty and Homelessness, I immediately thought no way! 

Poster promoting equity with the profs. It reads:  A discussion on poverty presented by Coffee with the Profs.

Image via. www.facebook.com/universitycollegelit

What could I possibly bring to this discussion that one of the expert panelists couldn’t say better? Do I even know anything about poverty and homelessness in Toronto? Do I even know ANYTHING AT ALL?!!?!!

But doing things that are out of my comfort zone was one of my new school year resolutions, and has created most of my other content here on the blog. I survived all those other awkward situations, so why not this one?

The layout of the panel!

The layout of the panel!

Coffee with the Profs is a regular event held by the UCLit. Anyone can come, and each event has a different theme or topic. Some, like this one, are panel-style, while others are more of a social and networking event. The atmosphere is always casual – they order pizza and make a cozy corner of couches in the JCR – and there are UCLit reps scattered throughout the group to ask a question when things get awkward and silent. 

The panel I attended was more of an informal round-table discussion than a panel, and included Professor Hulchanski from the Centre for Urban and Community studies, Poet Laureate George Elliot Clarke, and Jesse Surdigo from the Yonge Street Mission. Each guest brought a different perspective to the topic as they discussed questions such as; what is poverty, why is it so difficult to escape, and what can we be doing to help? 

Students gathered around a large table and projector in the UC JCR

A different Coffee with the Profs session held by the UClit photo via. www.facebook.com/universitycollege

I found that although I didn’t have a wealth of knowledge on the subject, I was able to ask more specific questions about what was being discussed – rather than overarching philosophical ones. I actually ended up leaving the panel having formulated the beginning of my own opinion on the subject.

I overcame my fear of feeling inadequate in the presence of professors, and learned some new things in the process. I even engaged in a bit of twitter-talk with Professor Hulchanski after the panel! 

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 11.35.35 PM

If you’re nervous about talking to professors, I would definitely suggest hitting up one of these events! The informal setting makes it a lot easier to interact, or to just sit back and watch if that’s what you’re more comfortable with. I would also suggest going if you’re particularly interested in one of the topics, as it’s a great place to share your passion with other academics and students. 

Congrats to the UClit on hosting such a great series of events! I can’t wait to see what topics you bring up next! 

The meaning of life (and other concerns)

Warning: this post may contain material that makes you question a lot of things. Proceed with caution.

I’m in the library, writing a paper on health and social policy (you know, a typical Tuesday night activity). While performing an expert analysis on the state of health care, I start to ask questions. Why is the social structure set up this way? How did millions of years of evolution lead us to this point?

Picture of University College on a sunny day

Filed under: questions that arise when you’re stuck inside studying on a sunny day :(

A steep downward spiral later, I hit the emotional wall that is the demise of human productivity: apathy.

And what may have caused this apathy, you wonder?

Questioning the very foundations of life – value, meaning and purpose, also known as existentialism.

In various Internet subcultures, the idea of the ‘quarter life crisis,’ or the ‘existential crisis’ has become fairly common. A twenty-something wasting their life away on Netflix, caused by an utter lack of purpose, is an instantly recognizable and relatable illusion.

Meme reading: "Gives you 15 seconds between episodes to decide if you're doing anything with your life today"

All too familiar. Source: http://wanna-joke.com/evening-jokes-20-pics-22/

Personally, I think just being a student makes me vulnerable to the creeping embrace of existentialism. I have to make important decisions that will seemingly impact me for years to come, and that’s a lot of pressure. This is the general “I don’t know what I’m doing with my life” kind of problem. A minor lack of motivation, purpose and meaning spirals into more intense thoughts. We are conscious beings who have the freedom to do what we want, and to make meaning of this life that we’re living. The part that baffles me is the utter absurdity of it all.

It becomes difficult to focus on school, when you’re questioning the very meaning of your existence. We’ve been searching for the meaning of life for millennia. Ancient philosophers like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle have questioned the universe and it’s existence.

Spoiler alert: we haven’t found it, which is what I remind myself when I start getting existential. They weren’t the first, nor will they be the last to ask these questions. I’ll avoid preaching about finding your love and inspiration (I do that enough).

But where does this leave me? What is the meaning of life at U of T? (Get it? Like the name of the blog? No?) Have I resumed fetal position and accepted that life is meaningless?

Picture of Api

Not quite.

I realize that in university, and in my program especially, we’re taught to question and analyze why things are they way they are. It’s inevitable that some of that thinking leaks into everyday life (those sneaky profs!) So, after a long discussion with my friends about motivation and purpose, I return to my essay with a strangely renewed interest in what I’m passionate about.

Disclaimer: Although existential thoughts might be manageable for some people, I don’t want to invalidate what anyone else has experienced. So, if you have persistent feelings like this, don’t hesitate to talk to someone or to connect yourself with resources on campus like Peers are Here, Mindful Moments, Health and Wellness and more.

Let me know about how you deal with this down in the comments, or on Twitter at @Api_UofT!

History Course Drop-Out

*while reading this post, please feel free to play the song “Beauty School Dropout” from the Grease soundtrack 

If you had asked me 12 months ago, I could never have predicted that I would have dropped two courses and credit-no-credited one, all in my second year at U of T. 

In first year I was resilient. I studied course material that I hated, wrote tests I was vastly unprepared for, and was ultimately of the mindset that this is what University is

A selfie of me in the lecture hall, smiling at the lecture screen, acting goofy

Look at how much fun I thought I was having!

Being in my second year, I’ve had a massive perspective change.

While I know that University is still a lot of hard work, and there will always be courses you take because you have to – not because you want to, you shouldn’t be suffering through something just because you don’t want to be seen as a quitter.

Photo of me sitting cross-legged on my bed, with a pretty notebook that reads "adventure is worthwhile"

In first semester, I wrote for the blog about how I decided to credit-no-credit an elective course. CNCR-ing a course was still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, as it allowed me to take a step back from the pressure of getting a good mark, and actually focus on the course material 

But what happens when you’re not enjoying the course material? When you’re taking a course because you thought you wanted to, but turns out – you don’t. 

Photo of me with my head down on the desk , surrounded by homework, looking in despair

If you’re looking like this every day of the semester, it might be time to change something up!

Thats what happened to me this semester, not once, but twice. 

For some reason that I cannot recall, I thought it would be brilliant to take 6 courses this semester. Three weeks into the semester I was already overwhelmed.

I found that I was taking time allocated to my actual degree-requirement courses, to study for classes that were just electives. My grades and my stress levels were suffering. 

My roommate becca standing on St. George Street throwing a pile of snow into the air

My roommate and I both dropped courses on the same day, so obviously we had to take a celebratory photo in the snow

So I dropped my first course by mid-January. I felt an immediate relief, and used that two hour class block I now had free, to head to the library. Everything was going great with my now 5-course semester load, until midterms hit. 

In an anxiety-induced “I hate school” coma, I dropped another course at midnight the night before my midterm. 

The fact that I spent the rest of the night ordering dominos cheesy bread and taking selfies, probably should have been my first hint that I had dropped the course for the wrong reason....

The fact that I spent the rest of the night ordering dominos cheesy bread and taking selfies, probably should have been my first hint that I had dropped the course for the wrong reason….

I’m now 0.5 credits behind where I should be, and have a serious wealth of free time on my hands. While I feel less stressed and have more time to do readings for the classes I require, I wish that I hadn’t used the drop course option so liberally. I should have taken the time to go and talk to an academic advisor, or someone at the registrar’s office, before I made such a rash decision. 

So overall, my transcript looks a lot different now than I expected it to when I chose my courses this summer.  While some of that is for a good reason, others I wish I had thought about a little more. 

But how about you U of T? I’d love to hear your stories, or advice, on dropping courses. Do you have any suggestions on how to get through a course that you hate? Leave them in the comments down below, or share them with me on twitter at @Rachael_UofT!

Finding #JoyAtUofT andThe Magic of 21 Sussex

This past Monday, I was in our Juxtaposition Global Health Magazine office at the Clubhouse (also known as 21 Sussex) for our weekly office hours. I was swamped with work, but the prospect of free pizza was enough to convince me to attend a Clubhouse meeting for all the student leaders of groups who have offices in 21 Sussex. Although I’m an active member of Juxtaposition, I had never attended one of these meetings and I didn’t know what to expect, but I got a renewed perspective on 21 Sussex, which I wanted to share with you all!

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 12.50.43 PM

Some of the many services at 21 Sussex!

Community Engagement using the Clubhouse

When I first became acquainted with the Juxtaposition office, it just seemed like a nice area to chill out, and a place to store our group’s assets (as a print publication, we have A LOT of magazines in our office). As I started spending more time there, it became a second home.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 1.00.37 PM

Some of the many awesome things we have in our office!

After the meeting I realized it’s more than just OUR sanctuary. The clubhouse is available to the U of T community for a reason! The October open house was just one of the many ways that 21 Sussex promote community involvement and engagement.

Photo of the 21 Sussex clubhouse

Conveniently located right by Robarts!

You know how professors sometimes joke about being lonely during their office hours, since very little students actually come out? It’s a similar situation with our club’s office. The office hours are a great way to learn more about the club, what they do and how their membership works! I didn’t even know that the clubs held office hours, until I actually had to host them.

The roughly 700 clubs here at U of T can be difficult to navigate and learn about. Thankfully, ULife and UTSU have club directories, and there are countless ways to connect via social media. But, the 50 or so clubs at 21 Sussex got the privilege of office space. So maybe you want to see what Juxtaposition has in the works for the rest of the year. Or you want to find out how to go about writing for the Varsity. Or maybe you want to grab free condoms from the Sexual, Gender and Diversity office. Whatever it may be, stop by and say hi!  At the absolute least, you’ll make a new friend J.

(Did I mention our office has coffee and snacks?)

So #TryItUofT, and let me know how it goes down in the comments or on Twitter at Api_UofT!

Finding a Passion… For Fashion

Last week I attended the annual UFashion Spring Fashion show, held in co-ordination with the UClit and U of T Students for Wishes. 

The event is put on every year by the student-run organization UFashion It showcases different Toronto-based designers and stores, aiming to appeal to a variety of different styles and student budgets. 

This year’s event was held at Fiction nightclub, and proceeds benefitted the Make a Wish Foundation. Tickets to the fashion show were $10 a piece, and included entrance to Fiction after the show was over. 

two university aged girls sitting on a large leather couch in a club-like setting

Ainsley and Ashley getting ready for the show to start

Before attending the show I had never actually heard of UFashion before, so I didn’t know entirely what to expect. Creating fashionable looks that are not only locally accessible, but student-budget friendly, is difficult to say the least. Although I was excited for the experience of the show as a whole, I wasn’t holding out high hopes of seeing anything that I would “just have to have.” 

I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

photo1

The looks were edgy, fashionable, and well put together. There wasn’t a linear catwalk, but instead models walked a path that wound throughout the entire club. The audience was sat on the large velvet couches, and the layout gave everyone a front row view. 

The stores showcased included Toronto locals such as Over The Rainbow, Feroce, Parloque, Sauvage, and Original Penguin It also however, featured an online store created by two University of Toronto students. Haakem Bajwa and Parham Chinikar created their clothing line Cabaret Vesture in the attempts to create pieces that they would wear on a daily basis.  Instead of striving to achieve a certain aesthetic or style, they let their creativity guide them into making whatever pieces are inspiring them at the time. 

photo2

I left the fashion show having had a wonderful night, but also fuelled by a new interest in this aspect of UofT life I didn’t know existed before.  Almost at the end of my second year here, I still feel like I haven’t found something that I’m truly passionate about.  With hundreds of clubs I never expected it would be this difficult. 

However attending the UFashion event opened my eyes up to the world of UofT fashion, beauty, and style. It introduced me to an entire network of other students who share my passion for style, but who share many of the same student-related constraints. 

image via. http://ufashiontoronto.blogspot.ca/

image via. http://ufashiontoronto.blogspot.ca/

If UFashion sounds like something you want to get involved with too, check out their blog www.ufashiontoronto.blogspot.ca, or like them on Facebook here.  I’d love to get any suggestions of other beauty/fashion related clubs in the comments below, or hear your story of how you found your passion at U of T! Until next time, keep up to date with me on the other events I’m attending by following me on twitter at @Rachael_UofT.

Find Your Love

Hello friends! Reading Week has come to an end, but I hope everyone had a productive and/or fun week to catch up and/or relax!

As much as I would like to talk about my own Reading Week for this post, there are only so many words I can use to describe “Slept for 8+ hours a day, not including naps.”  For some fun Reading Week shenanigans definitely check out what Amie, Rachael and Ondiek have been up to.

The first day of Reading Week was a holiday that many people have very strong opinions about: VALENTINE’S DAY!

Picture of Api with animated hearts floating around her head

Love is in the air!

Unfortunately my Valentine’s Day plans weren’t as great as I’d hoped, so for this week’s post, I am going to switch it up and share my feelings through an open letter to my (former) Valentine:

Dear Netflix,

To be honest, I’ve never been into extravagant plans on Valentine ’s Day, but I’ve never been one to think of this holiday as a corporate, over-commercialized, capitalist holiday either. What I do like is the idea behind it. Celebrating love.

We both know that Valentine’s Day is not just about loving significant others but also about loving everyone in our lives. But, I feel like I don’t have the time to love. Because of you Netflix, I feel smothered. I feel like you’re taking over my life. I want to love other things. I want to love my studies, my student groups, and my job. I want my life back. I want to explore my own interests, not just what YOU recommend.

Picture of Netflix default user face. Green Square with 2 dots for eyes and a line for smile.

Just when I think I’m out, that face pulls me back in.

I think it’s time for us to see other people. It’s not you, it’s me.

Xoxox. Sincerely,

Api

I’m not going to go too much into my terrible relationship with Netflix. It had its flaws, but in hindsight, the relationship had a lot of great parts too. We had a good run, but it’s time to find new things to fall in love with. In my first year it was a program. Sometimes it was a job. This year, it was a conference. There’s still so much more to explore. The journey ends here for Netflix, because it was holding me back from doing what I truly wanted (like being productive), but it’s just the beginning of a whole new journey!

It’s all about finding the things that you love. Isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is all about? So I know I’m going to listen to Drake’s advice. Try to get out there and FIND YOUR LOVE.

Let me know what you’re finding down in the comments or on Twitter at @Api_UofT!

My Reading Week #Staycation

Happy Reading Week U of T! If you’re reading this article right now, chances are you’re one of the many students who didn’t go away for reading week. (However if you are – and you’re reading this on a beach in the warmth somewhere, I probably hate you.) 

American television shows and Tripadvisor commercials have all turned reading week into this glamorized week of freedom, where it’s mandatory to go somewhere warm, wear a slinky bikini, and drink a pina colada. 

However for most university students, this isn’t the reality – in fact, it’s not even an option. Not only are vacations expensive, but they also require an entire week of no school work; which always sounds like a good idea in theory, but ends up making your first week back a nightmare. 

The reality it, most U of T students this year will spend reading week at home. Whether you choose to pick up some extra shifts at work, take advantage of the quiet on campus, or sleep in until 2pm every day – it doesn’t make your reading week any less valid. 

That’s why this reading week, I have a full-on “Stay-cation” planned. 

Living close to campus I find it really easy to get into the slump of “home, campus, repeat.” I forget that I live in such an amazing city. During first year, Toronto itself was what made my year so enjoyable. In fact, in my Life@UofT interview, I explicitly mentioned how having a campus in the middle of the city was what I loved most about U of T. 

Somewhere between grocery shopping, laundromats, TTC rides, and paying rent, I seem to have forgotten what I loved the most about U of T – the city that it’s in!

Well forget no more, this reading week for me is all about re-kindling my long lost love for Toronto. It’s about getting out and exploring the little nooks and crannies I don’t have time to see between classes. 

For me, it’s going to look a little something like this; 

Monday: 

Brunch at School in Liberty Village. Classes may be out – but brunch is always in. 

Picture of brunch food sitting out on a school-esque table. Food includes pancakes, waffles, and eggs.

(Image Via. http://sincerelykn.blogspot.ca/2014/08/school-restaurant.html )

Tuesday: 

Free admission to the ROM! Tuesdays are my busiest days, so I never get to take advantage of this during the semester. 

image of inside the rom in the dinosaur room where there are dinosaur skeletons up!

(image via. rom.on.ca )

Wednesday: 

Free admission to the AGO! Ditto on the Tuesday comment. 

(Image via. kentsujimoto.blogspot.com )

(Image via. kentsujimoto.blogspot.com )

Thursday: 

Book Time! Not the boring Robarts-esque books however. I plan to explore as many of these book stores as humanly possible in one day. 

Clean, crisp, modern bookstore

( Image via. http://www.blogto.com/toronto/the_best_bookstores_in_toronto/ )

Friday: 

People watching in Kensington market. Now that I’m not one of the crazy Torontonians running around like a chicken with their head cut off – it’s nice to sit back and watch everyone else do it. Kensington is the perfect place for this. 

Two people walking through Kensington market , passing by a brightly painted building)

( Image via. www.paulkrol.net )

So U of T, that’s my #Staycation plans. Who needs a vacation when you have one of the most diverse and cultured cities in the world at your door step! So U of T, whether you’re hitting the streets like me, or lounging by the pool, have a good reading week – and I’ll see you all back on campus next week. 

The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway: Winter Commutes to U of T

Back in the summer, I wrote about surviving the summer heat while being a commuter. Rachael’s covered the campus winter life hacks, but in light of the recent snowmageddon that was unleashed upon the city (possibly a mild exaggeration), I knew it was time for: The commuter’s edition of surviving the winter!

Picture of Robart's library

If this majestic bird can tolerate winter, so can you.

1. Stay warm!

If I’m being honest, I’ve been that person who didn’t wear a hat because I didn’t want to mess up my cute hairdo. No one likes dealing with the bulkiness of winter clothing, especially if you’re alternating from bus to train to sidewalk during a commute. I try to look for items that keep me warm without all the bulk. Fleece-lined gloves, earmuffs, headbands, and even better insulated shoes and jackets have helped me stay warm without looking like the Michelin man (and they even keep me warm without messing up my hair!!)

2. Transit will be a mess. Accept it. Embrace it. Prepare for it.

I’ll admit, I get irrationally angry when the train gets delayed during storms, or when streetcars aren’t in service because of snow, but I know it’s impossible for transit systems to anticipate and prepare for everything that comes along with crazy winter weather. Staying updated, leaving early, dressing warmly and having a game or book as a distraction are all things that keep my spirits a little higher during delays. This handy TTC updates Twitter and the GO Mobile app have (relatively) up-to-the-minute information. I also have a tactic of leaving around times that the subway won’t have as much people. Pro-tip: Half past the hour is usually the least crowded time at the stations near campus because classes tend to finish on the hour!

3. Stay Safe!

If you’re able to, stay home! Poor visibility, slippery roads and just an overall mess of wetness make for pretty treacherous commutes already. Combine that with the generally bad traffic downtown and it creates pretty dangerous conditions. I’ve been caught driving in some pretty terrible storms and I can confirm that it’s difficult enough to see the car in front of me, let alone the people walking around them. I’ve emailed professors or TA’s and they’ve generally understood the situation, and thus the self-declared snow day was born.

Bonus: ENJOY!

It’s easy to get frustrated during cold, harsh winters, but it does have its upside. Imagine walking through the fresh snow on St George St. Possibly stepping out onto King’s College Circle and seeing the skyline blurred by the snow.

Picture of King's college circle with blurred CN tower in the background  Perhaps the upside could even be a U OF T SNOW BATTLE?

picture of students throwing snow with University College in the Background

If this isn’t a good enough reason to love winter, I don’t know what is! Picture via Life at U of T Facebook page.

So tell me U of T, how do you cope with commuting in the winter?

My Off-Campus Housing Assumptions

It was around this time last year when I was in first year, that my friends and I began thinking about where we wanted to live next year. We had all lived in residence during first year and although we loved it, we were ready for the change of living off campus. 

Looking back now, the entire process seemed daunting. What neighbourhood did we want to live in? Who would our roommates be? What was our budget? 

But before we said goodbye to campus housing for good, we had to take an inaugural photo

But before we said goodbye to campus housing for good, we had to take an inaugural photo

I’m happy to tell you that we did in fact find a place, and that we just recently signed our lease for next year as well – which means we probably did something right! However, leading up to actually signing our lease – the road was anything but smooth. There were fights, tears, and even a dramatic cheque ripping or two.

Going into the house hunt, I think we had a lot of false assumptions. About everything from pricing, to who we would actually want to live with. So in the hopes of helping you with your house search, here are the top 3 assumptions I had and why they were completely wrong:

Assumption #1: Everyone signs a lease before the holiday break 

I cannot being to tell you how off-base this assumption is! Despite the stories you may hear from your Laurier and McMaster friends (where housing is a lot harder to find) most U of T students sign their lease between April and August.

A photo of me and 2 of my roommates after we had officially signed our lease and moved in! (in MAY)

A photo of me and 2 of my roommates after we had officially signed our lease and moved in!

The best strategy is to check housing.utoronto.ca regularly starting now, and keep your eyes open for houses that seem to fit your requirements. We signed our lease in April and it started in May, but our friends just down the street signed theirs in August and moved in the first week of September! If you think all hope is lost because you haven’t found a house yet -don’t worry, house-hunting season has only just begun. 

Assumption #2: You choose who you want to live with, then find a house that suits you 

If I had known how impractical this was before my house search, it would have saved a lot of awkward conversations. Me and 3 other friends had all promised each other we would live together in first semester – but when it came time to actually choose a house, we realized we had a lot of practical differences. 

Although I love all of these hooligans, I don't think all of our living styles would have worked together. That's why our 10 person friend group divided between 2 houses.

Although I love all of these hooligans, I don’t think all of our living styles would have worked together. That’s why our 10 person friend group divided between 2 houses.

My suggestion would be to have in mind the “core” people you want to live with (i.e. a best friend) and then try to find a house that you love. Once you do it’s a lot easier to fill it with your other friends than to try to hold out for that perfect house for your pre-selected group. 

Assumption #3: Your rent will be pre-divided for you by room 

Unless you live in a perfect house with 4 perfectly identical rooms, it’s normal for most houses to have a rent variation between rooms. In my house, it’s almost $100. The hard part about this is that a lot of landlords will just give you the total rent cost – and leave diving it up to you. 

This can be really stressful as people decide which rooms they want, and then become defensive or argumentative over price. I suggest you determine the cost per room before anyone “claims” it, as it might change someone’s opinion. 

For example, my roommate Ainsley was willing to take the room without a window (don’t worry she still has a skylight) in exchange for having the cheapest rent in the house. 

(via. https://www.splitwise.com/calculators/rent )

(via. https://www.splitwise.com/calculators/rent )

You may find it useful to use online tools such as this one by the New York Times, or the one we used by Splitwise. They take the measurements and components of the room, and calculate a fair division. 

Overall, finding a house was a very different process than I expected it to be. I think if I was to go back and do the process over again, I would utilize Housing Services a lot more than I did. They can help you with everything from finding a roommate, to settling landlord disagreements. Check out their website or pop into their office in the Koffler Building

If you have any questions about my housing experience, leave them below. Happy House Hunting!