Many people have asked me about my living situation out here in Chicago and how I went about deciding on a roommate. Often the questions relate to whether living with someone in the same program is a good idea or not. I truly believe the option is ultimately up to you, but its a great idea to consider all of your options! With these questions constantly flooding my inbox, I thought it might be a good idea to ask my cohort, and get their opinions on the subject. With our responses, I compiled some general positives and negatives of each option you could choose!So You’ve Decided to Live With Someone in Your Program…
They Understand What You’re Going Through!
Having a roommate that is in your specific program can have some huge benefits. One of them being the built-in support system you will gain during this new chapter in your life. I personally am very grateful that my roommate is in my program with me. She has quickly become one of my very best friends here because of the amazing experiences we have shared together so far. “You have someone that already has similar interests and passions as you. They understand what you are going through because they are right there, going through it too”, says Patrick Justin. Bobbi McKissick has had a similar experience as well, however she has had the opportunity to room with Julie Brannen, a second year student. “Having a roommate that has already gone through the program is a definite positive. Julie is a great support and a wonderful study partner. She has been so welcoming. The program set me up to be roomed with her. She knows what I’m going through and knows exactly what to say or do when the school load is heavy. While we both have very busy schedules we value the importance of making roommate ‘dates’ when we can.”
Have a Question? Ask Your Roomie!
Sometimes it can be very convenient to have a roommate that has the same workload as you. Not only is it a friendly reminder, but you can often share books, edit each other’s papers, or offer feedback about topics and ideas. It is important to have someone help keep you on track! Hannah Bailey agrees with this idea, stating that “It’s nice to have someone to talk to about readings, assignments, and bounce ideas off of.” Hannah’s roommate Pat had insight on the subject as well, “I think the roommate aspect further strengthens the bond we have in class. When I’m going through something, she knows exactly how I’m feeling because she sees me at home when I am my most real. So in class I already know that there is someone here that I trust, that knows, understands, and supports me.”
There is No Separation Between School and Home
It can sometimes be hard living with someone who you go to school with and see everyday. There is no real separation between work and play and it can sometimes become overwhelming. School work begins to spill into your everyday life, and this could be the biggest issue for those who feel they need a personal escape from their life at school. Some of the members of my cohort have stated, “Problems at home affect the cohort relationship and vice versa. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of the program or what went on that day at school because those same people live with you.”
Sometimes Roommates Don’t Always Get Along
If you end up fighting with your roommate, or realizing that you aren’t the best fit, it’s honestly a little hard to escape them. Just like school often comes home with you—home will go to school as well. However, this isn’t an end-all-be-all type of deal breaker. You can still make the most out of your experience here with other friends you are sure to make along the way. It wouldn’t be the first time in history roommates didn’t get along! However, I still believe it’s a risk to seriously take into consideration before signing that lease!
So You’ve Decided to Live With Someone Who Isn’t in Your Program…
It’s Nice to Take a Break From School
As stated previously, the separation between school and home can be a really nice escape. Although we love the support of our fellow classmates, most school days are very long and draining. Sometimes it is nice to leave those worries behind and come home to a clean slate. Those in my cohort who live with people outside of our small DMT world have just as much success in their different living situations as those who chose to live with others in our program. Many of them stated that if you need a complete break, you can truly set everything to the side. Bobbi also stated that not having a roommate in the same cohort allowed her to recuperate, and helped her to value her space away from school more.
Get a Different Perspective
Sometimes it can be frustrating if you are only spending time with the same group of people consistently. Without even realizing it, you may get on each other’s nerves and unnecessary fights may begin to occur. It’s important to take a break now and then to explore the other sides of yourself that you could possibly be neglecting because of school. Rosey Puloka says she appreciates having roommates not in her cohort because she can get different perspectives from people outside of the program to keep her aware of the world outside of Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling.
You Don’t Have Someone There to Ask Those Quick Questions
Not having a friend handy to ask about your homework assignment or what the reading was can be a nuisance at times. We all know that grad school comes with a heavy workload, so its convenient to have a friend around who is learning the same topics as you to help go over material. Requirements for assignments can often be confusing, and having the opportunity to ask your roommate for their opinion can be immensely helpful. However, if you ask your photography or filmmaking roommate, they may just look at you strangely and wonder what the heck you just said.
Sometimes it Can be Scary to Embark on This Journey Alone
Many of the people in my cohort agree that it is convenient to have a buddy when you are traveling in the city. Especially if you are new to the transit systems here in Chicago, it can often be confusing and overwhelming. It was really comforting to know that I had my roomie to travel to and from school with me at the beginning of the year. I have since become more comfortable with traveling by myself, but it is still nice to have a buddy to explore with. Brooke Miller agreed and stated that, “It’s a little more scary to explore the city when you’re by yourself.”
So You’ve Decided to Live Alone…
Because of price, it’s not always everyone’s first choice, but you could always choose to live alone. Krista Tyner currently lives on her own and stated, “Honestly, I value the friendship of the people I would ever consider living with too much to risk hurting it by living together. Its important to know your own personality before choosing to live with someone or not. I know myself. And I don’t like living with other people.”
Ultimately I agree that it is extremely important to realize what type of person you are, and know what type of living situation would work best for you! Everyone is unique and will find success with all different types of roommates (or lack thereof!). Luckily, I have been successful enough to find a roommate that I love and truly appreciate every day! Patrick shares my feelings on this subject, “When it’s all said and done, I couldn’t be happier with my roommate. She is more than just a friend that I live with—she is one of the sisters I have so luckily and happily gained while on this journey. To have the support of someone that understands what I’m trying to do with my life and also supports me, is an incredible thing.”