If you’ve been following my blog, a couple weeks ago you read about pancake night – a night that happens once a month where my housemates and I spend a couple hours making hundreds of pancakes and opening our home to anyone who cares to come by.
The tradition of pancake night has been such a gift to me this year…it has taught me the importance of being generous with time, finances and literal space.
Choosing to live in a house in college has been an incredibly valuable experience – while living with eight other girls has it challenges, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Yes, you read that right. Most people think it’s absolutely crazy to put that many girls in one house, but Chapel Hill real estate prices call for it and it just makes life more fun.
You can make anywhere a home with your attitude.
Living in this 90-year-old, funky and somewhat creepy house down McCauley Street has taught me that you can truly make any place in the world a home. It doesn’t matter if there is a constant stream of cockroaches, leaky sinks or strange sealed up staircases. If everyone makes a teeny bit of effort, any space can be transformed into a place that people want to spend time in. It’s not about the decorations, but rather the attitude and willingness to share space.
This is a lesson I’ve relearned every single day sharing space with so many people. Whether it’s being thoughtful through actually doing your dishes or writing someone a note, it really goes a long way. The odds are that at least one person is going to be having a bad day, so not assuming anything and extending kindness is the easiest way to care for your roomies day in and day out.
Eat in the kitchen.
Hands down, the best conversations I’ve had in McMansion this year have been sitting in our cozy, second floor kitchen. Most days when I cooked my meals at the house I planned to eat alone, but with nine girls someone else often wandered into the kitchen or was also cooking. By choosing to always eat in a shared space led to conversations and deep friendships that I wasn’t expecting. Seriously – never eat alone especially in a house full of wonderful people.
Pull your weight.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Do your dishes. Clean the bathroom. Pick up that sweater that’s been sitting on the couch for a month. One of the best pieces of advice my Grammie ever gave me was to time the things we constantly avoid doing – after we realize how little time it takes, it’s so much easier to do it.
College schedules are probably the most inconsistent schedules we’ll have our entire lives. This often means that no one is home at the same time – as we all have varying class schedules and other commitments. This can often lead to only seeing your roommates in passing – never actually spending quality time with each other. Consciously trying to be home a couple evenings or afternoons a week with the intention to spend time with the people you live with is a game changer.
Plan house events.
By default, our house comes together once a month on pancake night. However, this is a night for us to serve our community and not each other. But the nights we’ve come together to pray before pancake night or all end up in the kitchen washing up dishes turned dance party are simply the best. It feels like an impossible challenge for nine very involved college students to find a night that everyone can commit to, but it’s so worth the effort of coordinating.
Whether it’s sharing milk, giving rides to class, opening your closet up or covering someone else’s chore you have to be selfless in sharing a home. I found the easiest way for me to get frustrated was to not be generous and to get caught up in keeping tabs on these really tiny things. The beauty of sharing your space with so many people is that they have your back. Trust them and do them a tiny favor, I promise it’ll come back around when you’re in a bind.
It’s not going to be perfect.
Don’t be disillusioned. Mixing multiple personalities, attitudes, opinions, etc. is going to create conflict. We’re all human. We can be lazy, petty, unfair and selfish. Living in a house is going to bring all of these things to the surface eventually, whether they’re justified or not. Recognizing this head on will be the best way to work through points of tension in a house. But, with all that said it’s totally worth it. Learning to compromise brought our house together – these are the people you have the privilege of doing life with. Making it meaningful will be one of the best decisions you make in college.
College brings a host of challenges and it often feels harder than easier – having a home to come back to everyday will make the bad days so much better. Thanks for the best year McMansion ❤