September 2012
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The Elephants Upstairs

One of the many privileges of being an upperclassman is the opportunity to live in an apartment instead of a dorm or suite. This year I am living in North Village, the nicest place to live on campus. I am thoroughly enjoying the central air conditioning and full kitchen. I’m very glad I have been given this opportunity because it gives me a chance to be an adult and live on my own without the anxiety of being out in the real world all by myself. North Village is located right behind the gym complex. It is still on campus but instead, it is its own thing separate from everyone else. We have our own quad, which Residence Life just hosted a really nice picnic for all North Village residents in. It reminds me of a planned or gated community, but on a much smaller scale and without the exclusivity. With this privilege, however, comes a lot of responsibility.

When you live in a dorm you are only responsible for cleaning your room or even half of your room, if you have a roommate. When you live in an apartment, not only do you have more to clean, but you also have to learn how to budget your money in order to buy things like cleaning products and groceries. You also have neighbors that you can hear through the halls. Many times, there will be a lot of people in one apartment and it can get loud enough for you to hear it in your apartment across the hall or even below their apartment. This is something everyone deals with and it can be frustrating at times but you learn to live with it. I also think my apartment has the heaviest door in North Village, which sometimes causes it to slam shut early in the morning if you aren’t paying attention. This can easily wake your apartment-mates up, so you have to be aware of everyone else in your apartment all the time. You always want to make sure the door is locked when no one is there, but it can take a while to work out a routine with everyone of different schedules. You also have to get used to sharing common areas not only with your apartment-mates, but also with their friends sometimes. They may want to have people over to watch a football game the same day you were planning on spreading out on the kitchen table to work on a paper, so you have to be able to communicate well with your apartment-mates and learn to respect each other’s life styles. Putting a cleaning schedule together was one of the first and best things my apartment did. We have it posted on the inside of our pantry door so no one forgets when their turn to clean is. You have to keep track of not only your room, but also the living room, kitchen, sinks and bathrooms. As long as you divide it and plan it out, it makes cleaning really easy, but you still have to work it into your schedule to make sure it gets done.

Grocery shopping for the first time was a little daunting for me. I have never bought food for myself like an adult. I found it easiest to make a list of everything I wanted to cook and then another list of all the ingredients I would need for each dish. I found finding time to cook dinner during the week wasn’t really a possibility for me because of how busy I am, but I did find it much easier to cook on Sundays and then put stuff in microwave safe containers to heat up each night of the week. It allows me to have a nice, hot meal each evening for dinner and still gives me time to do everything I need to. Living in an apartment, I have had to learn a whole new way of living. It has definitely been an adjustment, but one that I have welcomed with open arms. Because of this experience, I really feel that I am even more ready for the real world. I’m glad McDaniel gives us this opportunity because it teaches us life skills that are important to our success in the real world.

“Anyone can cook!” – Gusteau (Ratatouille)

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