Confusion Corner: A TWAMP’s guide to alternative house hunting

It sucks, doesn’t it? Everyone is running around like crazy trying to get their life for next year figured out, while just thinking about the next few days is overwhelming. Well, it is stressful, and we all know that finding a reasonably priced house with a washer and dryer is much more difficult than it should be. That is the problem with living as a college student in Colonial Williamsburg; I don’t think anyone in the 17th century really planned for hundreds of young adults scrambling for beds only hundreds of years later.

Options that are available are usually taken up by Greek life organizations. I have known nearly five houses this past year owned by separate communities of students that have been swallowed by sorority groups (which is pretty discouraging when looking at future homes). The whole ‘pass down from generation to generation’ is very sweet and endearing, but think of all the poor kids out there who are searching for a simple quiet room away from campus and don’t want to dedicate themselves to a campus organization just to have that option. The housing market functions as a monopoly for not only Greek life, but also for the landlords in Colonial Williamsburg. If you have a bad experience with one landlord, then that will shut down about a quarter of your other housing options.

So, with all the difficulty in finding a house, why don’t you just stay on campus, right? Ludwell Apartments is basically off campus and One Tribe Place transports you back to a trippy 1960s haunted hotel. What more could you ask for in a home?

As someone who has lived both on and off campus and has gone through a Spielberg–worthy epic adventure, the hunt for a new home every year has always been exhilarating. The best thing about living off campus has always been the complete separation from the community of William and Mary — an experience not even a 20-minute walk to and from Ludwell Apartments can provide. After all, being able to journey to classes and then come back to a place that is entirely your own space makes campus all the more special because you aren’t restricted within the boundaries of William and Mary.

On the other hand, living on campus has its own obvious positives as well, such as having a safe environment to walk around in and the ability to wake up five minutes before your 9 a.m. begins. But with all the perks of on-campus living, I will confirm that my parking tickets while living on campus with a residential pass have increased 300 percent versus just parking on Richmond road every day while living off campus. The facts cannot be argued that expenses seem to be at your disadvantage within university lines.

Now we have it confirmed that it is frustrating trying to play the cat-and-mouse house hunting game at William and Mary, but if there is any more advice I may offer from experience, it would be on houses. As you go looking for a new home away from home, keep a few things in mind. Always be skeptical about the houses you visit, even if they seem nearly perfect, because no house built in the 20th century comes without flaws.

Though you may be desperate to sign any lease that comes your way, never blindly sign anything. I personally have been involved in looking at a lease that turned out to reveal the landlords as criminals and the lease illegal — we have a million law students that I am sure would love to use their degree to help you read a legal document. Finally, when looking for housemates or houses alike, the William and Mary housing Facebook page has been even better than Craigslist in my experience.

No matter where you may end up, be thankful that there are actually options for students to live off campus. It may not be easy, but if you are looking for housing next year, that must mean you are not graduating just yet … therefore you have nothing to worry about — for now.

Ellie M. is a Confusion Corner columnist who will advise you on choosing your on- or off-campus housing.


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