Hunting for housing

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April 8, 2010

11:58 PM

It’s that time of the academic year again. By now, you’ve either turned in your deposits, or are diligently patrolling online rental ads. That’s right — it’s room selection time. Unfortunately, not everyone gets a great time slot or the opportunity to live in Jamestown North, but there are great housing options to be found on- or off-campus with a few helpful tips.

Before you worry about room location, knowing who and how many people you’ll live with is an important choice. Do you still need a roommate, or even roommates, for next year? As you look for a roommate, keep in mind your study and social habits. If you like having friends or your significant other over at all times, but your roommate usually falls asleep at 9 p.m. to wake up for his or her 8 a.m. class, things could get awkward. When talking to potential roommates, if you notice your schedules could not be more different, it may be time to talk to someone else.

Being randomly paired with someone requires constant flexibility from both parties. The roommate agreement you fill out at the beginning of the year is a great way to set some ground rules, but keep in mind, you and your roommate may be very different people. You might have to make some concessions to ensure your year together will go smoothly.

Once you have a roommate secured, check out the Residence Life’s website. It has information ranging from the specifics of the online room selection process to interactive tours and information concerning all of the upperclassman halls. If you have other questions or are in need of more information, the Residence Life office can be of assistance. The Residence Life office is located in the Campus Center, room 212.

With your roommate, create a list of what you’re each looking for in a dorm. One of the most important things to take into consideration is location. Your roommate is a sociology major with all of his or her classes on New Campus, and you’re an English major in Tyler Hall. If you are the type of student who needs to run to class to get there on time, try to find a dorm in the middle, like Landrum or Jefferson Hall. Keep in mind your favorite dining halls, or even your propensity to spend hours in Earl Gregg Swem Library or the Student Recreation Center. These factors will help you pin down the perfect location.

If you have a later spot (sorry, rising sophomores), chances are you will not get your first pick, but don’t worry. There are great dorms that sometimes go overlooked.

Take for example, Old Dominion Hall, located across the street from the Sadler Center. It’s a dorm that provides easy access to dining facilities, the post office and the Student Exchange. Even though it is located on Old Campus, residents do not have to walk far to get to the New Campus academic buildings or to Swem. The same benefits come from living in the Bryan Complex.

There is a chance you could end up living in your last-choice dorm. While it may seem easier said than done, make the best of the situation. Go crazy with room decorations and make it feel as much like home as possible. Put the awkwardness of freshman mixers behind you, and try to make an effort to go to hall events to meet the people with whom you will be living. You might find your least favorite dorm was really the best fit after all.

For those living off campus, this year you have a new resource website created by the College: wmoffcampus.com. After you create a username which is a quick and easy process, the website gives you access to all rental listings available in the area. You can even narrow down your choices by distance and price. If you have a car, distance becomes less of an issue, but it is not necessarily a definite determent. Several apartments and housing complexes, like those on High Street and Merrimac Trail, are stops on the Williamsburg Area Transport bus lines.

Although far less stressful — at least to some — than registration, room selection can be more daunting. Armed with the right information and the proper preparation, you can find the perfect place for you by April 13.

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