Flight School Life: Living Arrangements
When you're moving every year, how do you figure out where and who to live with?
Living Arrangements will be the first of hopefully many editions of what I hope will shed more light on the life of an SNA/SNFO outside of flight school.
"Where do you live and how do you find roommates?"
"What is vacation like when in the military and going through flight school?"
"Do you have time for hobbies and other fun things?"
"How do you meet people and make friends when constantly moving duty stations?"
"Why do they trust you with million dollar aircraft yet you don’t even know how to change your home of record during tax season?"
"What is a home of record?"
These are all very good questions. Very good. Questions I have either been asked personally or have often heard come up in conversation with others.
And the first of these Flight School Life topics I’d like to cover is the housing and roommate situation as you bounce along through flight school.
Your first stop in the training pipeline may be a bit intimidating at first if you’re joining the Navy through OCS, like I did, without knowing anyone in the Navy. ROTC and Academy kids all seem to have their friend groups already sorted out but if you’re from OCS or if you went to a small college or you simply got orders to P-cola without anyone you know, it can seem a bit daunting to figure it all out.
Firstly, the Navy will give you something like 10 days of “house hunting” leave to use when you arrive at a new command so that you can figure out your life. This can be especially handy somewhere like Pensacola where there are good and bad areas and it’s best to see it in person before committing to a lease.
Is that what I did?
No… But don’t be like EE! Use all the time off the Navy will give you and it’s easier to spend some time house hunting earlier so you don’t have to move later on if things go poorly and you’re in the middle of training.
What I and a few other groups did while at OCS was we developed a friend group of future aviators and started bouncing housing ideas around as early as CandiO phase. That way by the time we were in our last week we had the number of rooms we needed to search for on housing sites and Facebook pages.
My roommate group ended up finding a pretty new house in a decent part of town using the SNA/NFO Housing Swap group which I would definitely recommend as a good starting point. This is a useful page for renting entire homes or if you want to rent a single room in an already-occupied house of students. Be cool, make friends.
Primary and Beyond Housing
Whether you’re the hot ROTC chick that every academy guy is offering to study with or you spend your Saturday nights polishing your Oxfords, everyone eventually meets everyone during the flight school pipeline.
This makes for a straightforward way to find roommates as you move to random new duty stations. Chances are you’ll always know at least one person that is moving with you to your next location and if you stay in the Pensacola area for primary and then select helicopters you’ll even know if the bartender at Seville needs a place to stay. For more than the night, that is.
TLDR; everyone knows everyone and if you can’t find a roommate it’s because you have a pet snake collection. Also when you check in to a new command the people in Student Control are usually very helpful as well.
To Roommate or Not to Roommate?
- You save money
- Guaranteed study partners
- Guaranteed drinking partners
- They’ll wake you up so you don’t sleep through muster (maybe?)
- Increases the “net” you cast to meet new people
- You save money
Not to roommate:
- Don’t have to lie to anyone about how shitty your flight went
Questions? Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop a comment below!