The last thing on anyone’s mind when coming back from a long winter break is housing. We have not even been in school for two whole weeks and we already have to decide where we want to live during the 2013-2014 school year.

As a sophomore, I am already somewhat familiar with the process of housing but as a freshman, the whole process can be just added stress. When I was first accepted to George Mason, filling out the housing application was simple; you answered questions about what you did and didn’t want in a roommate, decided where you wanted to live, and then the University did the rest. However, the housing selection process has changed a bit since my days as a freshman.

To begin, you must figure out what kind of group you want to be. From all the housing selection information meetings which I’ve attended, groups of four have always been strongly recommended. Finding a group of four definitely looks better written on paper. For example, you might have a group of friends all of whom want to live in different places with different people, making it difficult to form a group of four friends. If anything, finding a group to live with is the hardest part of housing.

You could end up living with a group of complete strangers. But that’s the worst case scenario.

Once you finally get beyond finding a group, then you have to worry about where to live. For me, deciding where to live was almost as stressful as finding a group. While there are many options as to where to live on campus, every building has different living arrangements. So, if half your group wants to live in apartment style and the other half wants to live in suite style, you probably need to reconsider your group.

As annoying as the housing process can be, Mason does try and help the students. There’s a Facebook page where students can talk about where they want to live and the number of roommates they need. There is even an event where students can talk and hangout with other students looking for potential roommates; it’s essentially set up like speed dating.

All in all, if you find yourself getting overwhelmed by the housing selection process just remember one thing, don’t get mad at your friends. If it’s important enough to you, consider some possible alternatives to the process, then work to change the system.