I walked into my new apartment with visions of what my new place was going to be, what my life was going to be in this new home. Everyone has those illusions.
What I didn’t know was that I should’ve prepared myself for 50 flea bites and the smell of cat shit, which I didn’t realize was cat shit until five days of breathing it in. That will snap you right out of any illusion.
Now, you can see right through my countertop. You can literally see right under the bottom of the surface. I don’t know what happened there — probably termites. The windows are misty, and the tub has been dripping, which is not ideal because I’m a very sensitive sleeper.
What I’m trying to say is that the shitbox you get is the shitbox you get. And it’ll stay that way. Unless you literally have cat shit, fleas and a couch that sinks when you sit on it, in which case yes, it has to get better.
Let me be your housing campaign manager. I’ll Kellyanne Conway your housing experience. First, use a spreadsheet, create fields, and check off what each apartment has. Separate them by price and proximity. Don’t just choose the first place you come across. You like it? Sure, of course you’re going to like anything because you live in a matchbox in McDavid Hall that you picked based on a FIG or a small photo online. That wasn’t a real choice. But now you get to make one.
You don’t go to a car dealership and just buy a car. (If you do, we need to rectify that.) When you walk in a car dealership, they want to get you to buy a car that day. Do not let them use their psychology training to convince you that you only have one option. You don’t have to sign an apartment lease the same day of your tour. Don’t let them treat you like Nissan of Lewisville. One year in an apartment is a long time, and it’s a Joe-Biden-level big deal.
You know what you’re getting. No matter what, it’s going to be shitty. If you go for cheap on East Campus, it’s going to be shitty. If you pay a ton of money for a side of brook, it’s going to be shitty.
You don’t need luxury, but maybe it’s right for you. Some of the luxury complexes aren’t as expensive as you’d think. The difference in price between The Domain and Rise on 9th is in the ballpark of $300. What you’re paying for downtown is just more convenient — and, I suppose, safer — shitfaced-ness when you go out, but that’s a whole lot of money to pay when there’s an off-campus shuttle you can ride.
Devote weekends to figuring out where you’re going to live. It’s going to be your home, so don’t take it lightly. And once you’re there, remember one thing: You won’t get anything if you don’t make a scene. You’ll just have to spend tons more money on anti-flea spray.