Just recently, I was told how unusual my housing situation is. I was confused. Was it the dead squirrel situation? No, couldn't be. She's long since rotted away and my house now smells of saccharine Bundt cake. 

They were referring to the length of time I've spent living with the same housemates.

When I came to Penn, I had no idea what I was diving into. More specifically, I did not know about the cool—kid pressure to move off campus during your sophomore year. So lo and behold, I had to explain to my mom in my freshman October—just two months after I had moved into the Quad—that I needed to sign a lease and I needed to sign it fast. An unnamed cigarette–smoking fraternity was trying to take the newly on the market property, and we wee freshmen were determined to run our form into the Campus Apartments office before they did. We beat them by fifteen minutes. From then on, the house on [redacted] was ours for the taking.

I moved in with two of my NSO friends—including a literal Day One—and a friend who I met so early in the year that he was basically included in the former category. Everyone said I was taking the mother of all risks, that I'd end up dealing with their dirty dishes and irregular nocturnal habits, that I'd slowly grow to resent them as our relationship grew poisonous. That I'd "Initial Here" on a junior year lease so fast I wouldn't remember that I had lived in such squalor.

There is truth here. It's more than common to rotate between two or three different off–campus apartments during your upperclassmen years. People change, relationships reconfigure, and sometimes you learn to hate each other's habits. And their guts.

But they were wrong in my case. Here I am a rising junior, living in the same ol' room in the same ol' house with the same ol' housemates. And I am grateful for that and them, that we've stayed so close since the August of 2015 when we were stumbling all over each other on Spruce Street. We've changed and grown and gotten more petty with each other.  

People are still shocked when I tell them that I haven't moved yet. But they don't know how good I've got it. I've been blessed with the gift of domestic stability, even though my level of cleanliness far surpasses that of my roommates. But alas, I've learned to be less uptight.

I'm thankful for my living situation and the people that I share in it with. And I'm still glad we haven't stopped passive–aggressively texting each other in the house group chat. That's the only regularity I think I'll ever know at this school, and I can't wait for another year of that.


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