Housing Heads-Up

Cameron McNeill 13/01/15

I know what you’re feeling, frosh, and like a printer thirty minutes before a deadline, I can sense your fear.

It’s January 11th, and you don’t know where you’re living next year. You’re worried, and it’s adding to the pile of stress caused by the fact that your marks are at least a letter grade and a half lower than they were last year, and by the losing battle your waistline is fighting against the sodium-saturated meals you eat at Leonard every night.

Your fear is justified, and it is fear that we’ve all felt before. Who do you live with? Where do you live? What are utilities, and how do you make scrambled eggs?

Walk with me.

If you’ve already figured out who you’re living with, you’re ahead of the pack. At this point, however, most people don’t, and are subsequently left to worry about the fact that they may not have a group of girls to take pictures with in front of the stairs every Friday, or something like that. If you don’t know who you’re living with, I’ve got a few simple suggestions to help resolve that issue:


  1. Walk up to a person you want to live with. Ask them if they know who they’re living with.
  2. If they say no, ask if they want to live with you. Don’t drop hints; don’t assume they know. As with most things in life, being straightforward will produce results.
  3. If they say yes, ask if they have space for you. If they say yes, cool. If not, move on. Don’t place a voodoo curse on them, because nothing good will come from that.


Like your fears of dying alone, your fears of living alone will probably come to nothing. However, on the off chance they don’t, there are still options.

To be realistic, the number of people you know beyond your building is probably pretty small. It was for me, and it was for all of my friends. You’ll meet new people next year, and the odds of you staying with your first housemates for your third year are 50/50.

That being said, there is a Queen’s housing group on Facebook where you can search for roommates, and there are outgoing exchange groups on Facebook filled with people who are off to travel the world and are desperate for someone JUST LIKE YOU to sublet their room. Facebook is your friend, and if you find yourself in limbo, you should utilize it.

Oh, you’re going to live on Aberdeen, eh? You’re going to have keg parties every weekend and invite people to your roof on St. Patrick’s Day? Ha. Hahahahaha. No you’re not. Well, you might, but you will be forced to sacrifice the financial equivalent of a kidney in order to afford it.

In the wonderful world of the Ghetto Student Village University District, location is expensive. This is Queen’s, and landlords assume that we are the sons and daughters of the Forbes Richest.

It sucks, bro. It sucks a lot.

That being said, being close to campus is a priority for most people, so we pay it. I came from West Campus, so while the sale of my mandatory dogsled and hiking gear helped to offset a move further east in second year, it was still expensive. I live even closer to campus in third year, and it’s even more expensive.

Alternatively, as a rule of thumb, the further you move from campus, it is both less expensive and less likely that you will wake up to an insect the size of your fist. Seriously, they exist. Keep that in mind when those thoughts of you commanding a two hundred strong army on your lawn during Homecoming flash through your head.

Utilities. Internet. BILLS. The fact that you will now literally be old enough to say, “well, it pays the bills” will hit you like a slap in the face. The first time you say it will probably be an offhand remark to a friend about your summer job, and like a gust of bitter Kingston wind, the realization that you are now but a few steps from arthritis will stop you in your tracks, nearly knock you over, and certainly make you cry.

You now have to hand over monthly fees to be able to shower, and that sucks.

While some landlords pay water bills, my point remains the same. Electricity, water, internet: these things all cost money. Lucky for you, they’re actually simple to set up. Fill out some online forms, make a few phone calls, sound like your parents while complaining about costs and you’re golden. Trust me; don’t worry about it. It’s easy until you need to start kicking down your housemate’s door to collect their share of the payment that will allow you to heat your house when it’s -50, but that’s a story for another day.

You’ll be fine, frosh.


Until it’s time to buy groceries.


Cameron McNeill is an Assistant Editor at the Queen’s Tartan