Congrats! You've found an apartment near UCF for the Fall! Life is going to be amazing! If you signed a lease at a UCF student housing community that is larger than 1 bedroom, you likely filled out a roommate matching form or listed roommate preferences to live with someone you already know. You and your roommates are adequately stoked (as you should be) and you're getting ready to move in to your first apartment; magical times for sure.
Luckily, most apartments near UCF offer individual leasing, so all of your student apartment finances will be split by the office and you shouldn't have to communicate with you rooomates much regarding paying the rent or utility bills. What you probably haven't given a ton of thought to is how are you and your roommates going to live together. What does that even mean? I'm so glad you asked.
There are two classes of roommates in student apartments: those that you already know and are friends with, and those you've never met before.
You're probably thinking the first type is better than the second - the people you've never met before. I'm here to tell you that it's usually the other way around. There's a very good reason for this and it's completely counterintuitive. Surely, our "friends" (even if we've only known them a short time) will make better roommates on average than complete strangers, right?
UCF Roommates: Familiarity
Not always, and for one good reason: familiarity. When we're familiar with someone from high school or classes at The University of Central Florida, we feel completely comfortable encroaching on their space. "Make yourself at home! Help yourself to anything! Mi casa, su casa!" That's all well and great for a weekend guest, but for a roommate? It can get old quick.
In all the roommate conflicts I've seen over the years and had the pleasure of mediating, familiarity was at the heart of 90% of them. Want to let your boyfriend stay over five or six nights a week? Surely your BFF roommate Alexis won't mind. You wouldn't care if she did it.
Want to dig into her ice cream at 2 AM when you get home from Knight Library famished and you realize you were out of Ben & Jerry's Americone Dream? Alexis won't mind and she knows you're good for it. You'll definitely remember to replace it next week. *Cough, no you won't, cough, cough*
Want to throw an informal pre-game on a Tuesday at 10 PM? Surely your BFF Doug isn't going to mind. Yeah, he's studying in his room, but you're not being that loud. He'll deal, right?
Yes, Doug will deal. Yes, Alexis will mind. But they probably won't say anything because you are friends and they don't want to rock the boat. So, they'll quietly stew. A gallon of milk left in a hot trunk in July. It won't be long before they've gone rotten and start biting back with passive aggressive actions of their own. By April you're not even speaking. A story as old as time.
UCF Roommates: Previously Strangers, Maybe New Friends
The strange roommate you never knew before? You'll defer to them because you don't know them. You'll be very respectful of them and their things because you don't want to make a bad impression. They'll likely do the same. It's funny how we'll treat strangers with greater deference than we do our best friends. Chaucer was right, familiarity breeds contempt.
So, how do we best avoid this common trap of living with other people? Some ground rules are a great idea. In my experience the fewer rules the better, but they should hit on the bigger issues:
- What's the standard AC temp during the day and evening?
- What about eating or using the other person's stuff?
- What's the dishes policy? 24 hours to clean them or immediately?
- Overnight guests – how many, for how long, and what's a decent curfew for the week?
All of these are great topics to agree upon before you move-in together. Once you've developed a routine in your UCF apartment of your own it's much harder to negotiate as no one wants to deviate from their pattern. Since you don't have any patterns at the start of your apartment lease, it's a good time to write down a few that can help keep you from stepping on any toes. Have the talk, keep it light, but don't sleep on these common roommate pitfalls. You also might want to check out this article on living with roommates.