Find out if group home living is right for you

Nick Sestanovich
Nick Sestanovich

Even though most students won’t be moving out for another five months, it never hurts to get an early jump on student housing for next year. The options of where to live outside of the dorms is wide open. There are studio apartments where students can live with one or two others or go solo. Students can find a nearby house to live with their friends or significant others. There’s also what I’m doing this school year: the group home.

I am currently living in a house with seven other people, and it’s certainly a mixed bag. I like everybody I live with. Being a more studious student who parties less than the average Chico State student, it has been a little much for me. That doesn’t mean it can’t be for other people, though. Based on my own experiences, I have compiled a list of group home pros and cons, so you can determine if this setup is right for you.

The good

1. It’s a very social experience.

Are you worried about being lonely this school year? That’s not a problem in a group home. More people means there is always someone to talk to, and the likelihood of finding someone who shares your interests is greater than if you moved into a house with just one other person. You can watch TV with others, play games and even have conversations. Group homes are a good way to build relationships.

2. Prior relations with housemates aren’t required.
It’s not easy moving into a house with two people who know each other very well, and you often find yourself as the third wheel in a relationship. That is not to say this doesn’t occur in group homes. If you are looking to meet new people, most students will be in the same situation as you. I have found it easier to become acquainted with people who don’t know anyone else in a housing setup, and group homes are usually full of people like that.

3. Bills are easily split up.
Because eight people live in my house, I have never had to pay too much for utilities or Internet. Even with really high payments, I usually never pay more than $30 for electricity. The more people who live in your house, the more money you will save.

The bad

1. There’s less space.
My house has two refrigerators, and they are both extremely crowded. Finding space to put my food is a hassle as is finding enough room to work while cooking. Living in a place with less people would have given me more room to keep my stuff separate from everyone else.

2. It’s less clean.
This may depend on who you end up living with, but generally homes with a lot of college students are harder to keep clean. I pick up my trash and clean my dishes, but not everyone in my house does. The responsibility to keep a house clean should never fall on one person, but in a house with eight people that’s what happens.

3. They’re noisier.
If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s all that noise, noise, noise! Again, this depends on who lives in your house, but remember this is Chico: a town so noisy City Hall had to pass an ordinance to quiet it down. Odds are, you will be living with a few noisy people if you choose a group home. If you are the type of person who likes to get a good night’s sleep, you are not going to get it in a house full of people who like to stay up late.

How you’ll enjoy living in a group home may depend on what type of person you are. If you want to live in a house where you can walk away with a friend and don’t mind the noise, then a group home may be right for you. If you don’t want to live in a house with typical college students, then consider living with less people. I don’t think I’ll be doing the group home experience next year, but see what works for you and make up your mind from there.

Nick Sestanovich can be reached at [email protected] or @Nsestanovich on Twitter.