One of the things that makes the University of Dayton so unique and community-driven is the student neighborhood: blocks upon blocks of University-owned houses.
It's a dreamland: an entire neighborhood filled with your friends and peers, walking distance from your classes and nighttime festivities. Every UD student looks forward to living in the neighborhood (I'm sorry if PATH screwed you over), and for some of you, that time has come. In late August, you will be moving into your first house in the North or South Student Neighborhood. Get ready, it's just as great as you think it will be. However, it's definitely new experience, and there's some things you should know first...
1. Do your dishes right away.
Some of you were in apartments last year, but if this is your first time with your own kitchen, especially if you don't have a dishwasher, do you dishes as soon as you finish eating. Believe me, they add up fast, and nothing makes your house look worse or your roommates more annoyed than a sink full of dirty dishes.
2. Try to live sustainably.
It's your household now, and you have the opportunity to make an impact. Cut down on your use of plastic bags, turn the lights off when you leave the room, and don't leave the water running. My roommates and I even used cloth napkins and started to compost. So much waste and energy can be used by house, especially if you aren't mindful of it, so do your part – Lord knows the earth needs it.
3. Get cheap porch furniture.
And keep an eye on it. Porch furniture is a must-have in the neighborhood, but don't break the bank on it. Odds are, your neighbors are going to a little too much fun one night and borrow, break, or steal your chairs. (Yes, even if you literally chain them to the porch. I've seen it happen.) Check out Kroger or Walmart for cheap, colorful chairs.
4. Clean your stove.
REALLY IMPORTANT. Especially if you have a gas or electric coil stove top. If you don't wipe it down regularly, the residue from past cooking endeavors will start to burn or catch on fire, which causes lots of smoke and an awful smell.
5. Keep your garbage area clean.
Make sure the bag stays on the garbage can and that nothing gets forgotten at the bottom of the can. Things will start to rot and ants will come. I'm sorry for the graphic image, but this is critical.
6. Put the garbage schedule on your fridge.
And make sure that your garbage/recycling cans are taken to the curb/alley on the right days and taken back to the house after they are picked up. Nothing is worse that forgetting about garbage day and having an overflowing can for the next week, except maybe the fines you'll get for your error.
7. Get lots of Tupperware.
Leftovers make the world go round, so make sure you have your Tupperware at the ready. Plus, they make your fridge look a lot more organized, which is major when you have 3-6 people trying to share one.
8. Make an effort to know your neighbors.
Not only is this is a great way to make new friends (and what is better than having friends that live literally 30 seconds away), but it can also be handy to have a friendly relationship with the folks next store so that you can borrow their milk, or text them to turn their music down when you're trying to get some sleep before a test.
9. Learn to cook.
It's cheaper and healthier than eating out, and you might as well take advantage of that kitchen. (Bonus: making one large meal every now and then for a family dinner with your roommates is great bonding and will earn you brownie points.)
10. Clean up your yard.
Yes, you will be fined for having trash in your yard, even if you weren't the one hosting the day drink. For better or worse, your yard is your responsibility, so make sure it's kept in good shape.
11. Find a study place.
Whether it's your roommates having people over, or your neighbors down the street blasting their music at an ear-shattering level, your house will not be quiet on the weekends. Find a nice, quiet place on campus to go when you need to focus on your studies.
12. Lock your windows and doors.
Basic safety folks, don't be dumb.
13. Say no to things.
It can be hard to say no to going out on the weekends when you can literally hear the parties calling your name. You're in the center of everything, and it's enticing! However, know your limits and recognize when you need to take the night off. Put in your headphones and watch some Netflix, or turn on a noise machine and go to sleep. There will always be another party.
14. Think through having a party.
Speaking of which, really think before hosting a gathering of your own. Consider the prep, the time commitment, the responsibility you have for your guests, and the clean-up. Are you up for it? It's not as simple as just sending out a Facebook invite, and you can't just leave and go to bed if you aren't feeling it.
15. Clean before you go to bed.
If you do choose to host people, never go to bed without cleaning at least a little bit. The mess only gets worse the longer it sits.
16. Let people look at your house.
When housing assignments are announced for the next year and a group knocks on your door wanting to see your house, let them in, even if it's messy. Pass the torch. You know how exciting/important it can be to see your future home before you move in.
17. Your fellow is a good resource.
They're not as hands on as your RA and you won't see them as frequently, but don't forget that they're there and they're useful. Whether you have a roommate issue, a question about PATH, or need to let someone know that your garbage isn't being collected, they are your go-to problem-solver. (Also, if you chose to throw that party and it gets a little out of hand, they can come help you break it up before you get in any trouble.) They are there to help.
18. Have a chore chart.
Having a house means having more things to clean. Hold yourself and your roommates accountable by making a chore chart, putting it in a visible place, and keeping up with it.
19. Have realistic expectations.
The house won't always been clean. Something will break. The neighbors will be loud when you desperately need sleep. It's inevitable, so take a deep breath and let it happen. Not everything is perfect, but you're living in a pretty spectacular place with some pretty great people.