The pros and cons of share house living
So you’ve finally hit the big leagues – you’ve been at uni for an ungodly amount of time, the government has finally taken pity on you in the form of Centrelink payments and you’ve decided to rent in a share house with a few of your pals.
But that’s no mean feat. The soaring cost of rent and the fact that you have to cook ALL your meals is fairly daunting; even the most seasoned renter can feel a little played by the system. But fear not, there is light where there was once eternal darkness (probably because you were behind on your energy bills).
Renting may be hard, but we’re here to reveal the truthbomb that things are best when they’re shared. Of course, it’s not all MasterChef reruns and matching snuggies, so we’ve added a few cons to put things on an even keel.
Pro: Knowingly sharing food with your housemates
Five veggies and two fruits a day? Only if the dehydrated flecks of nothing they give you with instant noodles and mi goreng count as nutritious. Seriously though, the food situation can be great provided you’re up for a bit of sharing. Some of the best times in share houses can be had around a dinner table, swapping war stories from the day about how you’re finding it difficult to juggle five subjects in a semester. Whatever your issue, there is nothing that can’t be fixed with a good chat, some Aldi wine and Jatz crackers. It’s these little moments that make up a lifetime in the house, and these are ones you’ll never regret having to pay the rent for.
Con: Unknowingly sharing food with your housemates
The guy in your office who takes the cake from the fridge which has been clearly labelled with “Jan” is no friend of yours. But he or she might just be the soulless wench who sleeps only four feet from you, taking what isn’t theirs and claiming it as their own.
Some people were not made for this world. But do not be surprised if that delicious satay chicken breast that you made with grace over the frying pan two nights ago suddenly disappears from your inventory. Give it a rest; it’s not worth the fight. But who are you kidding, that Ben and Jerry’s ice cream that you didn’t buy belongs firstly in a bowl and secondly in your stomach.
The moment you sign away your life and guarantee you’ll pay a stranger x amount of cold hard cash a month simply to not get cold at night means you have smashed through adolescence and have your feet firmly planted in adulthood. It’s thrilling to have it all at your fingertips and to find out what it’s like “in the real world”. No one to tell you when to go to bed, when to wake up or nag about the tidiness of your room. It all falls on you.
It all falls on you. Perhaps the biggest shock to new renters is the overwhelming angst knowing that every action in their day is accountable only to them, like some nauseating illness that persists despite your best attempts to stave off its invasion. No clean clothes? Time to stop what you’re doing and wash those undies. But if it's night time, prepare for damp clothes to drip from your wardrobe edges and desk chair; hopefully the thick mouldy haze sends you into enough of a bacterial stupor to put you right to sleep. Heavy.
On top of the mood-lit whine wines that I mentioned before, having a share house can be a great way to improve upon and/or consolidate your social life. It gives you the freedom to host parties where no party has dared go before. Pre-drinks? Sorted! Rave cave upstairs with the windows closed? If that tickles your fancy. Whatever the weather, get prepped for some serious liberty on the hosting side.
Con: The morning after
Bottle caps. Cans. Sticky carpet. Rotten food. Maggi noodle pieces left in noodle purgatory after being lodged in the space between your seat cushions. And sometimes no amount of emu bobbing can save you from the emotional trauma that you feel when waking up after getting a promotion, only to discover what the aftermath of a hydrogen bomb looks like. Combine this with a healthy black dot against your name at the local police station and you could be in for a nervous breakdown whenever someone cracks open a bottle at your place in the future. Pro tip: clean up and shut up. It was all worth it.
One last note: while the pros and cons appear equal in this article, the pros are the overwhelming favourite for the title. It all takes a bit getting used to, but these days will be like nothing you’ve ever had before. God speed.
Rory is studying a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery at the University of Notre Dame.