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Housing matters


This is the kind of housing I can get behind. (Photo by Amin Helal)
This is the kind of housing I can get behind. (Photo by Amin Helal)

When my dad was in college, he lived with a guy he called “Zeke baby” (what? I know) in an apartment covered with shag carpet on the floors AND WALLS. The kitchen walls, made of stucco and decorated with beer bottle caps, were the only exception to this.

My mom thought it was gross, but my dad loved it. And this was fine. It didn’t matter that it was possibly the grossest place I’ve ever heard of: he was comfortable there, and that was important.

Students (all people!) should feel comfortable in their own homes. Though the words “student housing” typically conjure up images resembling my dad’s college pad, not everyone wants to live in such an environment.

Student housing tends to be pretty hit and miss: I’ve moved every year and seen a lot of gross apartments. A note to landlords: just because we’re studying, doesn’t mean we’re always content to live in a festering pit of neglect.

My current landlords get this: this apartment is immaculate. And it’s made a noticeable difference in my life. Last year’s place had a mouse infestation, and my dinner was interrupted one night by a rat scurrying across the floor. It was absolutely disgusting, and it changed my relationship with my space—the kitchen is usually my room of choice, but after these incidents I was afraid to go in. Not having to put rubber boots on to cook my dinner has left me much more relaxed in my home this year.

Besides cleanliness, a lot of other factors contribute to making a space liveable. Do you want to be close to campus or further away? Do you want to live with all your friends or just one? Do you prefer basements or high-rises? Sobey’s or Superstore? Perhaps most of all: do you mind noisy neighbours, or do you need quiet? Certainly, waking up at 3 a.m. to your neighbour’s raucous partying will do a lot to make going home an unhappy burden, and lack of sleep will affect mental health very quickly.

Of course, most young’uns can cope with a certain level of decrepitude in our houses. Many of us have to, as it tends to be the cheaper option. But like most things in life, it’s a balancing act: I’m happy to pay more in my final year for an apartment I love coming home to. We may spend half our waking lives in the library, but even students appreciate decent housing.

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Samantha Elmsley
Samantha Elmsley
Samantha was Opinions Editor of the Gazette for Volumes 145 and 146.

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