Roommates: the good, the bad, and the lazy

By Elizabeth zinchuk

There is a good chance that any student you talk to on campus will have a roommate tale to share.

Students consider price, utilities and location among several other factors when they choose a new place to live. However, the difference between living in a happy residence or a messy nightmare is just as important when choosing a potential roommate.

The choice can be difficult enough that some students simply choose to live on their own.


Some attempt to live with their best friend as a roommate. Students should not be afraid to cross out close friends when seeking out a roommate. Friends may be the best people to go to when students need someone to talk to or go out with.

However, they may not be the most reliable for chores or responsibilities.

Roommates should establish amicable rules right away, create a chore chart that divides cleanup equally and be honest with their problems to establish a good relationship. Staying candid about one’s cleanliness, sleeping habits, and guest preferences are important to settle as soon as possible.

Friends and roommates Elizabeth Estrada, a sophomore from Grayslake studying elementary education, and Mercedes Alvear, a sophomore from Chicago studying social science education, knew each other before they moved in together.

Alvear said one’s experience with a good friend could either be good or bad.

“It depends on the people,” she said. “For us, it worked.”

However, Alvear said she has had bad experiences with a roommate.


“She was rude, never respected my things and ate all of my food,” she said.

Estrada said having a roommate who leaves dirty dishes in the sink is her No. 1 pet peeve. She also named maintaining personal space and respect for others’ belongings as an essential roommate quality.

“The key thing is to have limits and to make them clear to who else you are living with,” she said.

Students can also live alone, but many choose to share the rent because it is more affordable.

Chris Davies, a senior from Wheaton studying geography, said he chose to live alone because he had experience with roommates who did not pay their share of rent.

“Normally, if you are trying to pay utilities and all the rent by yourself, it is not going to happen,” he said. “I was able to afford a bigger place on my own.”

While roommates can make living much more affordable, not having dependable roommates can make life difficult. Sometimes living alone can be a way to avoid friction between differing personalities or gross or obnoxious roommates.

Bryan Brown, a senior from Murphysboro studying history, said he is among the fortunate who are able to afford his own place.

“I got lucky (and) could afford it, so I thought ‘Why not,’” he said.

Higher rent is one downside of living alone, but those who choose to would save sanity they might lose living with a bad roommate. Brown said living alone cuts any conflict that could occur from living with other people.

“If there is something that needs to get done, I know I am going to do it and there is no worries,” he said.