By the time August comes around, the anticipation for the upcoming school year reaches its peak. The anxiety sets in as you wonder whether you picked the best classes, if you actually need $478 worth of textbooks and consider that you won’t have your mom’s home-cooked meals for a few months. After you say your final goodbyes and head up to Binghamton University, the last thing you need is to walk into your new place and realize it’s totally not what you signed up for, or what you should’ve signed up for. However, this has been the case for countless people as they make the trip to their home away from home. Last November, in your scramble to sign up for housing in order to meet the school’s deadline, this possibility was probably the last thing on your mind.
Although classes have just begun today, I’ve already heard a handful of housing horror stories. With a house full of bedbugs, a power company neglecting to turn on the electricity and a fridge filled with maggots at the top of the list of the terrors of Binghamton living, bedrooms without doors and an entirely unfinished bathroom are close behind. Beyond those living nightmares, I’ve listened to many people express their sheer regret for choosing to live where they did. Whether it’s roommate troubles, an inconvenient location or wishing they had chosen somewhere else, it seems to me like this move-in season has been hell for everyone. While certain situations are entirely unavoidable, the school’s early deadline is an added pressure that nobody needs.
While it’s easiest to attribute a lot of these issues to a shady landlord, they may be in part due to the school’s rush in making students sign up for housing in November. If you’re undecided, there is little time to weigh out your options as the sign-up deadlines (which start on Nov. 7 this year, by the way) loom like a dark cloud over your head. Are you ready to move off campus? Should you move into a house to avoid a higher rent, or is 20 Hawley Street really worth the money? As a freshman, you haven’t even gone here for three months; why are you expected to have already met someone you want to live with? It’s almost impossible to find the true answers to these questions in such a rush. If more time was granted to make such a significant decision, this would not present such an issue. The University should prioritize the well-being of students rather than try to guarantee full dorms for the following year.
The University should reconsider its policies and focus on students’ safety and happiness, but unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the deadlines will change anytime soon. So, even though the 2017-18 school year is just kicking off, it wouldn’t hurt to start scoping out housing for next year just to be safe. If the University won’t change this policy, it’s still imperative to take care of yourself. Like anything, housing is unpredictable and sometimes you have to make the best of a bad situation. Just try not to forget about it despite the chaos that accompanies the beginning of the year. After all, November is right around the corner.
Savanna Vidal is a junior majoring in biology.