Opinion: The Housing Trap

Every year, the dreaded h-word circulates around campus, bringing tears, confusion and breakups along with it. Housing, a seemingly simple concept, is anything but when taken in the context of BC.

Being in a forced triple freshman year, and now living on CoRo, I thought I’d seen and survived the worst of the housing processes. Little did I know that the junior year housing process would prove to be more tolling than my freshman year fire hazard and the Mount Everest-esque hill that must be conquered every day to reach Williams Hall.

My search for junior housing began the first week of my sophomore year--yes, THE FIRST WEEK. Unbeknownst to me and my friends, we were in fact tardy to the off-campus search party. Some groups, we were told, had signed leases in early summer in order to lock down high profile houses. Knowing this only added more stress and regret to our already full plates.

Though we realized it was ridiculous to start the aggravating and drawn-out process of searching for a house off campus when we had just settled into sophomore year, we knew that waiting a couple more weeks to mull over the logistics would most likely result in having virtually no options for houses. Thus, we got caught in the housing trap.

Among every other responsibility and commitment that arises the first week of school, the junior year housing process forces sophomores to expedite a process that should not be hurried. It pressures sophomores to make snap decisions that may eventually lead to bigger problems down the road.

One popular problem that junior housing generates is heightening the pressure of choosing a study abroad option. Sophomores who are unsure about going abroad, or still deciding between fall and spring semesters are suddenly asked to solidify their plans for the following year in the matter of a couple days. Though I’ve known I want to travel abroad in the spring, I signed my lease before I had even attended a study abroad fair--a concept that is absurd in my mind.

Junior year housing also hinders students from branching out socially. The fact that the majority of students are compelled to sign leases within the first semester of sophomore year discourages the possibility of living with different roommates or new friends.

What bothered me most of all about the search for an off campus house is that there is no universally accepted opinion on how to do BC junior housing correctly. There are a multitude of mixed reviews when it comes to all facets of choosing a house; there is not a general consensus as to what is the smart decision. From when to sign the lease, to how many people to live with, and everything in between, off campus housing is a hectic series of questions that has countless answers.

Sophomore year is supposed to be an exciting time, but the housing element turns it into a period of tension and false promises. We are asked to find a house, sign a lease, bill our parents the overpriced first and last month’s rent and plan our lives with virtually no guidance. Now, this may be how the world works, but it certainly doesn’t work for scrambling college students.

At the very least, the junior housing process is a disappointment. It is aggravating to learn that each year, housing not only puts more pressure on students, but also gets more confusing and irritating. Someday, I hope housing becomes a process that students don’t dread, but for now, this is a PSA that there is no promised land when it comes to housing.

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Emma Powers