Emily Moyes, a Broadcast Journalism student at Seneca College, spent a year living with unruly roommates, an unprofessional landlord and fear of theft and damage to her property.

“You want to feel safe and comfortable in your home environment, and when you don’t — that makes stress levels high.”

The stressful conditions in her house affected her day-to-day life, making her uneasy and preventing her from sleeping well.

As a result, she had difficulty concentrating on her school work.

Moyes advises getting to know your potential roommates and landlord before you sign a lease.

Spending some extra time looking for living arrangements that you can not only live with, but be happy with is vital to ensuring you can make the most of your school year. This might mean you still choose to live with strangers, but just be sure to spend some time with potential roommates so you know what to expect.

Discuss some guidelines as to what everyone is comfortable with — from cleanliness to visitors or parties. Your home, albeit probably temporary, needs to be somewhere you feel comfortable, safe, and able to study productively.

Most post-secondary institutions also have on-campus residences with screening processes in place to match you with like-minded roommates and help make the transition as smooth as possible.

Also, many college or university housing offices provide assistance and advice to students who are looking for housing off-campus.

There are pros and cons to every housing option. You may not find your perfect space right away, but keep your mind open to possibilities and put effort into your search.

After a long year of discomfort, Emily is now in a home that works for her. When it comes to living arrangements, she says, “There are a lot of stresses that are out of your control, but this is something you can make positive.”