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If Three’s a Crowd, Four’s a Family

Are you thinking about living alone during your service in City Year? If yes, I highly encourage you to think otherwise. I was initially the same way; I wanted to enjoy my own space and live by my own rules. However, life doesn’t always go as planned. Out of the blue one day, I was given an opportunity to join a group of three. After some drops and additions, we had our final group.

We were all very different people from different walks of life. One roommate was a college graduate from New Orleans, another was a college graduate from Connecticut, and the final was fresh from high school in Massachusetts. As for myself, I was recently evacuated from the Peace Corps trying to find my footing once again. I kept asking myself if this situation would work out, yet I knew only time would tell.

The first day of meeting your roommates is equally terrifying for everyone involved. You never really know what to expect. I encourage you to do one simple thing and that is to be your true self. Don’t try to pretend to be anyone you’re not. Building authentic relationships will be more beneficial for you in the long run. That’s exactly what my roommates and I did. Despite our different walks of life, we started walking forward together.

There is always stress involved in moving to a new city and starting a new job. COVID-19 has created an even thicker layer of stress. When you’re living alone, you’re already prone to isolation.  In the current situation with COVID-19 it is even harder to find networks of support and to meet new people. On the work side, we have transitioned to virtual service. This can make you feel a whirlwind of emotions and you must have someone to talk to.

Due to these events, I make sure not to take my roommates for granted. We have uplifted, supported, and empowered each other through these tough times. We’ve spent time exchanging advice and best practices to keep our students engaged through virtual service. We are currently working through multiple mediums of online support and if I forget something, I’m sure one of my roommates could assist me. That can also be said about the wealth of resources and skills we’ve learned in Basic Training Academy at the beginning of service. Lastly, we are on different committees which provides us a more holistic view of all the moving parts throughout City Year. If they ever read this, I hope they know they are invaluable to my service.

Now, I completely understand if one is not completely sold on having a roommate. You could make  rebuttals to my points. My situation is unique, and if you decide to have roommates so will yours. Regardless, City Year is gracefully operating through the pandemic and is providing our students with the same attention and enthusiasm as previous years. I hope you have gotten some takeaways from my experience. I believe now more than ever this is something you should take a risk on. The reward is so much bigger than you could imagine. As you are going in as roommates, you can leave as a family.

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