Congratulations: You finally have graduated past the ever-exciting and unbearably cramped dorm rooms, and have officially moved into your shiny, new downtown apartment or house. Okay, it may not be exactly shiny, but the feeling of you and your close friends having a place of your own, free from the Penn State-themed crutches of Residence Life and RA’s, surely seems to shine bright.
Unfortunately, there’s a buzz kill of having that shiny freedom that may cause the light to burn out a little quickly. It has always been said that you really don’t know people until you live with them, and what if your friends have qualities that you didn’t notice before?
I had never been more excited in my entire life to finally move into my apartment. My two best friends and I had this vision in our heads for over a year; what it would look like, how we would decorate, how every Sunday we would cook dinner altogether and the amazing parties that would happen here. Believe me, all of those things (minus the dinner part, none of us ever cook) have already happened, and off-campus life with two of my best friends is a dream.
However, being in one another’s constant company has had a downside – we have started to really get to know each other. My one roommate uses being busy as an excuse for not cleaning. Another tries and fails. Another just yells at everyone to keep up with their own habits, but it ends up just being white noise. Our once beautiful dream of an apartment is a mess 90% of the time, with no one but ourselves to blame, and I’m the only one that ever does the damn dishes.
Your friends are your friends for a reason – you support them. You never purposely put down them down or intentionally pick fights. But when you come home from a double shift at work to a sticky counter and tiny hole-punch pieces of paper all over the carpet you just vacuumed two days ago, you may want to literally scream until your face is as dark as the dust lining your furniture. While that may be totally warranted, there are more appropriate ways of dealing with this messy crisis.
The truth is, I came to college totally a motor-skill challenged, somewhat helpless individual, and it has been absolutely hell having to actually grow up and take care of myself. I never realized how much cleaning needed to be done to keep a place as beautiful as I want my apartment to be, and I never realized how hard it is to encourage your friends to want the same things.
The only thing you can really do in these types of situations is really talk to them. Sit down, turn off the television, and have an open and honest conversation. Being honest about what you want done and even assigning certain parts of the house for one another to cover when it comes to keeping tidy may do wonders. In the end, just like most things in life, it’s all about communication and being level-headed, and you certainly wouldn’t want to damage a friendship just because they’re occasional slobs.
Will my apartment ever be fully clean to my standards? Probably not. Will we always be a bit messy? Absolutely, but actually having the guts to say something about something you need from the people from you love can surely go a long way besides just finally putting away laundry you promised you would a few days ago. Who knows, maybe with enough conversation and motivation, by the end of the semester we’ll have a kitchen clean enough to have those Sunday dinners, if any of us learn how to cook.
Photo by Amanda Hunt