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Co-ed habitation creates a cohesive community

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Co-ed habitation creates a cohesive community

A house located on High Street in Urbana. Assistant special sections editor Serina Taluja rents the house with four roommates.

A house located on High Street in Urbana. Assistant special sections editor Serina Taluja rents the house with four roommates.

Serina Taluja

A house located on High Street in Urbana. Assistant special sections editor Serina Taluja rents the house with four roommates.

Serina Taluja

Serina Taluja

A house located on High Street in Urbana. Assistant special sections editor Serina Taluja rents the house with four roommates.

By Serina Taluja, Assistant Special Sections Editor

BY Serina Taluja

Assistant Special Sections Editor

I’ve done a lot of experimenting with living situations during my time as a student. From dorm living with a stranger to all-girls living to living with my best friend, there have been a lot of ups and downs with each new circumstance.

This year, I tried something completely new: being the only girl in a house of boys. I live with four of my guy friends, all of whom I’ve known since freshman year.

Going into this situation was nothing short of nerve-wracking. I didn’t know what to expect, and I soon found out all my roommates felt the same way. We were all a little anxious to begin the year this way, but we have also all agreed it’s been one of the best decisions we have made.

So, if you are a guy or girl considering living in a co-ed house or apartment next year, here are some little anecdotes from my time living with four guys to hopefully ease your worries.

For girls

For all of last semester, I was dating this guy from back home (which, for me, is Dallas, Texas). Since we couldn’t spend a lot of time physically together, we would have Skype dates every week on Sunday nights.

One Sunday, our conversation ended in a fight that left me in tears. I sat in my room, crying, and I felt so alone … and on a whim, I texted my roommates.

“Hey guys, anyone home?”

I got responses from the two who were home right away, letting me know they were around and asking what was going on. I didn’t respond over text but tried to pull myself together and knocked on both of their bedroom doors.

They opened them immediately, and I just told them I needed a hug. I had no idea how either of them would react to such a random request, but they could both immediately see something was wrong and hugged me. They also both instantly started asking what was going on and if they could help.

I let them know I just wanted a hug and that I needed a little space to process what was going on, and they totally respected that. They also kept checking on me throughout the night to let me know they were there for me, and I honestly don’t know how I would have made it through that evening without them.

So are guys a little messier than girls? Sure. Do guys get a little loud when they’re drunk? Sometimes. But are they there for you no matter what, especially when you really need a friend? Without a doubt.

For guys

It’s finals week of fall semester. It’s cold outside, the stress is kicking in and really, we all just wish we were home celebrating the holidays already.

My roommates are on edge: One has three projects due the same day, one has finals leading up to that last Friday at 7 p.m., the other is distracting himself from finals by debating whether or not to apply to graduate school. You could say the household was hectic.

Meanwhile, I’m a stress baker. So while I was worried about my finals, at the end of each day, I would make something sweet to distract myself from the potential disaster that were the exams I was about to take.

Turns out, sweets and treats are good stress relievers for other people, even if they themselves are not stress bakers. The treats I made brought us all into the kitchen where we got to talk about what was on our minds and support each other through a tough week, all over chocolate-covered strawberries or a batch of fresh cookies.

So do girls take a little longer in the bathroom in the morning? Maybe. Are girls a little more interested in keeping things neat and tidy? Perhaps. But do we bring people together and provide lots of love and support to our friends? Totally.

If you are going into a co-ed living situation, remember to keep an open mind and try your best to relax and enjoy yourself. After all, we are all still people, there to support and care for one another, gender-identity aside.

Serina is a senior in LAS.

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