Since the moment I stepped foot on campus, I was a dormy. I had the little shared room, which later turned into a little non-shared room, but still, it was a dorm. A dorm is a dorm is a dorm. This goes without saying, but dorms do not accommodate free-flowing space and the habitation of one person, let alone two. If it weren’t for the experience, I would’ve kicked the idea of living in a furnished closet to the corner, but that exhilarated Freshman inside of me begged to be confined by these bare white walls and the concrete-esque mattress of this twin-sized board they called my bed to embrace the independence, cooperation, and infamous struggle required as a newly instated collegiette. Now that I’ve gotten past that horrid phase in my college career, I’ve branched to what I had long considered the unknown: school-affiliated apartment housing that is off campus. Yes, I’ve finally done it, the big thing. So to kick off this semester of new beginnings and unexpected struggles, I would like to reiterate the realizations I have made as a campus outsider looking at the whole big picture of my housing experience.
1. You never really understand how much space you’re missing out on until the moment when you arrive at your first real apartment. I can legitimately breathe in here, deep breaths! I can extend my arms in both directions, stretch real hard, and not touch both walls. I can smell the freedom, and for once, it doesn’t smell like dirty carpet or an unkept common area. I think that’s exciting! Excitement is actually an understatement. It’s invigorating. And not only that. When I enter my room, I’m not already standing in front of my bed, nor do I have to kick and shove things aside to be able to close my door. I have a good amount of feet before I even come close! I could tell it was a blessing when I unpacked my belongings and the room did not induce a stress-related panic attack.
2. I finally have a mailbox that isn’t a P.O. box. It’s an ACTUAL, real-life MAILBOX, guys. I never realized how irritating it can be to have a P.O. box when I want to order samples of products (Yep, it’s a new thing I’m trying out, and yes, I promise I’ll include all the details when I actually receive said samples!). A chunk of them won’t even let you if you’re unlucky enough to have a P.O. box, and it’s not really like I had much of a choice coming in to decide where I wanted my mail to be dropped. Having an actual mailbox gives me the freedom to be the scavenger I am for online deals. It’s a win-win. I save money and companies get another (hopefully) happy customer that may or may not consume based upon happy sampling (or sad sampling, if the product makes me break out even more so than my skin does).
3. The walls are, in fact, still thin. Queue the “boos” and other groans of discontentment. If someone turns their head in the building next door to me, I can hear it. I guess I wasn’t really expecting thicker walls anytime soon, but it was worth the hopefulness. But now, I have the added benefit of creaking floors and creaking ceilings from my neighbors above my apartment romping around, doing what they do on a Wednesday night. However, don’t regard this as a complaint. I am madly, deeply in love with the new apartment I call my home. It really is a home. There’s not a single part about it or my residence community that makes me feel like I’m in confinement.
4. I’m a rent-paying adult. Ew, adulthood. And I have to pay my rent on time. By a deadline. Like everything else. It’s one of those realizations that only begins to hit you when you’re filling out the check, dotting the “i”‘s, and carving in that finalizing signature. It’s not like the thought hasn’t grazed your brain before, but being the individual that the deadline addresses…it’s so odd. Dorms force you to pay basically upfront. There isn’t a monthly payment that needs to be issued, so the thought barely crossed my mind. I could fill my brain with all of my other obligations (which happily accepted and inhabited the space). I was a little overzealous this month, paying my next month’s rent 10 days before it’s actually due, but I’m an anxious person that knows for sure that I’m going to trip over myself one month and realize that I have yet to pay my rent. So here’s a toast to the overachiever in me, and although overzealous me will get over this next step up, the daunting signs of adulthood that are looming upon me will put me back into this strange little worried state. It takes time to become accustomed to backpacking my responsibilities.
5. Shuttles are convenient. So convenient. TOO CONVENIENT. The claim is that they arrive every 15 minutes, but….I guess…..15 translates to 45 in a conversation between bus driver and the average punctual, logical, time-telling-and-comprehending student. If you don’t have a car, and you can’t find a friend with a car, and you have free time to wait for an hour before your class to ensure that you get there. And you can’t possibly walk, and it’s not urgent, and the class is optional, and it’s not an exam day, and you don’t mind sporadically rubbing up against strangers, and if you want an arm workout from holding on to the bars too tight while you’re standing in the middle aisle in the hopes that you don’t come crashing through the emergency exit when the driver makes a sudden stop. So….yeah. Shuttles are….convenient. They’re great, if any of those reasons are applicable. But don’t take my word for it. Take them for a spin. You’ll enjoy every sweaty, anxious moment that accompanies this intimate experience.
What did you come to realize when you moved off campus?
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