The relaxed roommate strategy

My college community was one in which everyone moved at least twice a year. Whether you lived in a dorm, an apartment, or a rented house, the majority of leases lasted from September to June, at which point you’d have to locate summer housing only to move yet again in the fall to start the cycle again. My roommate Sean got so tired of it that he completely abandoned any semblance of packing for a move and just threw all of his belongings in garbage bags while chanting the mantra, “Get in and get out, Kev!”

For some of us, impending moves were a recurring source of stress. Months before you reserved your U-Haul, you had to align yourself with future roommates, agree on a budget, search for a residence, and lock everything down lest you were left to live in your car or to move home. I’ll admit that I was in the stressed camp. I spent just as much time worrying about housing as I did actually looking for it.

But other students never seemed to worry about it too much. They didn’t wrangle roommates. They didn’t search for houses. They didn’t imagine all the worst-case scenarios that hadn’t actually happened yet. They’d just settle into a Zen-like comfort, somehow assured that everything would work out OK.

And magically, they always found a place to live.

Yes, those relaxed kids didn’t always end up in the perfect scenario, but neither did the relentless planners. And while the easy-going campers often benefitted from the work of those of us in the stressed camp, they were just as frequently the saviors, the ones who still were uncommitted when someone else desperately needed another roommate.

I wouldn’t suggest that any student sit back and wait for other people to handle your college planning for you. It’s your future and it deserves to reside in your hands. But worrying is rarely a useful strategy, whether or not you’re a planner.

For those of you worrying about every potential outcome that hasn’t happened, obsessing over elements that are not in your control, injecting anxiety into areas of your life to such a degree that it permeates the otherwise restful or fun time you should be enjoying, maybe you could take a page out of the relaxed roommate’s book?

Planning might change the outcome, but worrying almost never does.