Struggling, one apartment at a time

The struggle of finding housing as told by a freshman

by Brenden Tuccinardi, Contributor

It is January. Classes have just started back up and I am logging on to the housing portal for the first time since August.  It was hard for me to believe that in just a few short months I would be leaving the residence halls behind, moving onto bigger and better things. I was excited to finally get my own bathroom and kitchen.  Unfortunately, this excitement was short-lived, and the struggle became very real.

As a member of the Weber Honors College, I am required to live on campus next year, along with athletes, Guardian Scholars, nursing and international students as well as out-of-state residents.  I am not opposed to this since research has shown students who live on campus tend to have higher GPAs. I knew what I was getting myself into when I applied, yet I still had some concerns.

The biggest question on my mind was if I would end up with a room in my first choice apartment with my friends. When starting the process of applying for housing I was optimistic. I had researched my options and determined that Piedra Del Sol was the best fit. It has the best location, 9-month leases and is nicer inside compared to the other apartments managed by the housing office. I planned to live in PDS and didn’t bother coming up with something to fall back on.

I was naïve to think that everything would go perfectly to plan. Currently, SDSU has the ability to house a little less than 6,000 students. Last year SDSU received a record number of applications: 93, 610.

If my math is correct, and the university’s acceptance and enrollment rates remain similar, there will be around 6,880 students in the class of 2022. That leaves very little housing for the students required to live on campus even with the addition of Montage on College.

I did not know these statistics before I began the application process, and the Office of Housing Administration and Residential Education Office did very little to make this information, or any information readily available. I was going into it blind and expecting everything to work out. One of my biggest struggles as a first-year student looking for housing on campus was not having all the information I needed.

There are barely any resources available to help with almost every step of the process. Requesting roommates was complicated, and there were no clear directions on how to make sure we all ended up together. When it came time to submit the license agreement, several rumors circulated about roommates all having to submit at the same time. There was no way to substantiate these rumors besides emailing the Office of Housing Administration directly, and even then their answer did not provide much clarity.

The most traumatic chapter of my housing saga was room selection day. The housing office split this up into three days. As an honor student, I was given priority selection for the honors floor in South Campus Plaza on the first day. Since I chose not to take that opportunity I was assigned the last day at 12:30 p.m. My initial reaction to this was indifferent. I thought that 12:30 p.m. was pretty early compared to the times that some of my friends were assigned and I was mildly optimistic I would be able to get a spot in Piedra Del Sol.

My optimism was crushed when I began hearing, via rumors, that PDS was full along with many of the second best options such as Grenada and Montage on College. After going to the Housing office above the Starbuck in College Square, along with many other angry and confused students my worst fears were confirmed.

After receiving the bad news I went into crisis mode. All excitement was gone and I was now dreading living on campus next year. So many different scenarios and possibilities were going through my mind at once. At one point I considered dropping out of the Weber Honors College and trying to find housing in an apartment off campus, seeing as that seemed to be the easiest and least stressful option. After the initial shock wore off I decided to do some more research and reevaluate my options.  However, the struggle was far from over.

When my selection time rolled around my future roommates and I chose to live Zapotec, but even selecting my room proved to be yet another struggle. After hours of uncertainty and even more confusion, I ended up selecting a single bedroom, double occupancy apartment with only one out of the five people I had planned on living with next year.

The lesson I learned from this was to always expect the unexpected and plan for things to go wrong. However, I believe that if the Office of Housing Administration and Residential Education Office were more upfront about the application process my struggle and many other students’ struggles could have been avoided.