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where to from here? 
the recent grad's guide to post-college housing
by Justin Stempeck
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There are innumerable things to consider when trying to decide upon the right roommate dynamic. Think about how your jobs would match up. If he works nights and weekends and you're in the office 9 to 5, then you'll rarely see one another. Similarly, if you room with someone in graduate or professional school don't expect to kick back in front of the TV with them after a long day at work, as they'll probably be studying during your leisure hours. The never-present roommate is both good and bad. It gives you the chance to decompress in an empty apartment for most of the evening, but it can also get lonely after spending a week by yourself wondering if your roommate still actually lives there.

Even if you both have jobs with similar hours, it doesn't always make the situation easier. If you both get up at the same time expect to duel over showering, at least until some sort of routine is established. After you spend 20 minutes waiting in the hall with a towel in your hand watching your paper-reading time tick by, you probably won't mind getting up five minutes earlier to get showered first.

Another possible item of contention when dealing with a roommate is the grocery shopping. Are you a gourmand? Is her favorite meal macaroni & cheese? If your tastes fall along the same lines you could split grocery bills. I keep a large masonry jar atop of the fridge that serves as the keeper of the grocery receipts until the end of the month, when all of the bills are split. If your food habits run contrary to one another you may just want to split staple items such as bread, milk and eggs, or even just keep separate shelves of the fridge designated as your own. This sounds easy enough, but when you have a hankering for some chips and your shelf is empty while his contains a pristine bag of Ruffles, you might decide at that moment that you should begin sharing your groceries as well.

Living with a roommate isn't always about conflict though. It's also about random bouts of generosity. Whether it be making fresh coffee for both of you in the morning, washing all the dishes in the sink, or offering to cook them some dinner as you prepare your own, there are definite perks to living with another person that can usually outweigh any of the minor squabbles that come from sharing the same space.


Justin Stempeck is a free-lance writer living in Boston. He has a roommate and he likes his coffee with milk and sugar please.


check out these related articles: 
the great roommate search | under mom's roof | after school | leaving home | roommates from hell 

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