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OP-ED: I Didn't Find a Subletter For the Summer and Yes, I Am Giving Up

Photo by Chase Sutton / The Daily Pennsylvanian

At Penn, we all love to hate the summer internship rush. It’s easy to criticize OCR and the constant worry over cover letters and resumes. Most Penn students are hell-bent on leaving Philadelphia for greener pastures in New York or San Francisco, but I can’t blame them — I’ll be making four figures in New York this summer. 

The aspect of the internship rush that most at Penn don’t focus on is the hunt for a subletter. Yes, I have my job at BlackRock lined up, but I can't even get excited about it while I'm still focused on finding a subletter. The process for finding someone to rent your room is toxic and competitive. So, this year, instead of feeding into the system, I’m giving up my search to find a subletter. I'm prepared to let my parents cover my two summer rents so that I can take a stand. You should too. 

My parents said they'd be happy to front the rents as long as I act menschy to my little sister when I'm home in August. That is a price I'm willing to pay to shine light on this problematic system.

You'd think the fact that I can snag a sick summer job where I’ll be making four (4) figures this summer would help me find a subletter. It doesn’t. While my impressive resume and knack for business has secured me a job in the Big Apple (New York City), it hasn't helped me find someone to take my spacious, 1,500 square foot room off-campus (Beige Block).

I looked hard, I really did. I texted my fraternity GroupMe, and asked my girlfriend to post in her sorority’s listserv. But guess what? Nobody in either of our social groups is going to be in Philly over the summer. Strike one for Greek life, I guess. I even posted on Facebook and offered to negotiate the price. Still no takers in my circle of friends! It was at this point that I started to despair. I knew I had to make a choice — I could continue putting energy into the hunt to find a subletter, or, I could just not. And I chose to just not.

It’s a shame, really, because I’d be willing to sublet for as little as $400 (my parents will cover the difference). But because I’m committed to dismantling the competitive environment at Penn, I’ve decided to simply take leave from the rat race. No one is forcing me to find a subletter, so why should I?

It is time others took a stand with me. My parents told me “not to sweat it” since school is my “number one job right now,” and I think that's pretty good advice for everyone. Finding a summer internship is stressful enough. Why tack on the extra burden of finding some rando to live in your pad for three months? Just do what I did — give up — and trust me, it will all work out. It did for me, anyway.