Monday, March 31, 2014

Roommates after college

Now, let's talk about roommates after college.
Similar questions as when they were in college, but there's a real difference, the kids may be moving to a city where they don't have any bffs or anyone they really know. Your Gen Yer may be making the decision to live in a particular city because of the roommate, they're bffs, and they've agreed on a city together, ya never know? The other important thing to note is that you may not hear much about this at all, until after the fact. After all, they are over 21. But you can inquire because you care or are curious (and you are the mother). But again, ratchet it back parents! This is their life, not yours. Besides, your kids now have had real roommate experiences (and oh btw, much more recently than you have). They know what they're looking for, what they can and can't do as far as what / who they can live with. Trust them.
One of our son's had a great idea and posted his move on Facebook, saying he was moving to Boston and looking for a roommate. Shortly thereafter a mutual friend from college connected him to a buddy of his from high school that was moving to Boston too and voila! It worked out great, that six degrees of separation thing is a good thing! I, as the Mom, really liked the whole idea much better than a random Craigslist listing, because there's comfort in knowing who someone's "people" are. :) Spoken like a mother, I know. Another son has FB messaged friends from high school that attend college in Denver, looking for a sublet situation for the summer. I thought that was a good idea too. If your student is looking for summer housing in a city because of work/internship, suggest they look into University housing. Our daughter did this. FYI: NYU offers summer housing to students even for non NYU students, they just have to prove they're a student somewhere (NYU students have first priority), so it's worth checking to see if other universities offer this. In this housing situation it was much like freshman year, you don't know who they're going to room you with. It's only a summer though, right?
What about a roommate of the opposite sex?
Are they a friend.... or more? Is this "living together?"
I've heard of and know of a lot of different situations, so it really depends. Not that as the Mom you have much say,but hey, you're asking. If it's a "just friends" scenario, then questions that come up are:
Are you going to be able to relax comfortably, ie., wear your jammies on a Sunday morning while reading the NYT? Are you comfortable sharing a bathroom? Now you'll probably get the eye-roll or the equivalent look that we gave our parents, that "you're such a square"-look. And you may be asking these questions only if you have a daughter (sexist, I know), but ask. It's worth throwing out there, so you know your Gen Y kid at least thinks about it.
As for the "living together" scenario.
It's a big commitment. And I think the pivotal word in that sentence is "commitment." They're not a "roommate". It's more than that, it's very different. Some of you may be asking, "why don't they get married?" and others are saying: "living together is a good idea. How else are you going to know if this person is "the one."
It's a personal discussion, one that needs to happen between the couple and if either one of them chooses to speak to their parents about it, then as parents, we listen, we offer advice if asked, we ask questions that they may or may not have thought of, (going right for the jugular) ie., "what happens if it doesn't work out? How do you separate?" And you may get a response like: "We're certainly hoping it DOES work out, but if it doesn't, it's really no different than when you move out from a roommate that is your bff and you lived with them for a few years." And you think and may even say, "not exactly. I'm just hoping you've thought this through and that it all works out." And then you smile and think, this is their life, their decision. All I want for them is to be happy and happy with their choices and decisions... and so far, they sure seem to be.
~Beppie

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