Published: Sunday, October 21, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
It first occurred to me that I had a problem about a week into the semester. Sitting in my bedroom in my house on Foster Street, I looked up at the clock and realized it was 6 p.m. As it was the usual dinnertime for your average American, I decided it was time to eat. Walking into my kitchen, I opened up our fridge to see it freshly stocked after only moving in a week ago. I pulled out just about every ingredient I could find, ready to begin the cooking process. After standing in front of my stove for roughly 20 minutes, however, it finally occurred to me that I had no idea what I was doing.
College is a learning experience all on its own. Upon moving into your freshmen double, many students would agree that you have moved up in the world and taken on a whole new level of responsibility. Each year, this level of responsibility increases, and for those who choose to reside off campus their junior year, our abilities to survive on our own definitely get tested. While some adjust to the five-minute walk to school, cooking for themselves, and the unspoken “we’re not turning the heat on until November” rule, others do not.
It is safe to say I’m one of those people. Shortly after the cooking mishap, it occurred to me that my roommates and I were lacking in the domestic sphere. While we once considered ourselves skilled in the areas of cleaning, cooking, and doing laundry due to the fact we could successfully pick up trash in our common room and unfreeze leftover pizza, unfortunately we were not. Although our two-floor home on Foster Street may not necessarily be the real world, we are quickly learning the realities of non-dorm life.
Only a few days after my struggles in the kitchen, the second encounter with the troubles of domestic life occurred, involving everyone’s favorite hobby: taking out the trash. Thinking back to my days in Vandy and Kostka, where “taking out the trash” consisted of walking five feet down the hall to throw out a bag or two, made me miss the simple old days. Living in a house with nine girls means a surplus of trash, to say the least, but this is not the real issue. The real issue is that not only is there a plethora of empty cans and Fin’s boxes to carry to the end of the driveway, but there just so happens to be a small family of rats that reside in the bottom of our garbage cans.
Shortly after this, my roommates and I experienced a side of living off-campus that often goes unconsidered. At about 1:30 a.m., I awake to the sound of my phone ringing next to me. Before I, half-asleep, could utter the word hello, my roommate blurted out, “Did you hear that? Someone’s definitely trying to break in!” The next thing I knew, my five roommates and I were huddled together in my queen-sized bed, doors locked, butter knives in hand. It was this exact moment where I longed for the days of the Walsh check-in desk. Although in reality there was probably no one at the front door and it was just our family of rats scurrying through the garbage, the thought alone was enough to evoke such fear that I awoke the next day with two hours of sleep under my belt.
While most understand that signing your off campus lease means signing up to walk to school everyday, I don’t think the commute really sinks in until you experience it about 30 times. I think it fully hit me the other day as I crawled up the Foster hill, in the rain, 10 minutes late to class, while attempting to decode TransLoc. Although most days I don’t mind the walk and use it as my time slot to call the parents and think of all the things I need to get done during the week, some days it is just simply a struggle. January should be interesting.
Of course, there are also the little things too, such as remembering to pays the bills, the somewhat overwhelming task of buying the exact amount of groceries, losing your key, and the panic attack that comes with realizing you’re locked out of the house, and the first time you’re too lazy to cook for yourself and indulge in some gourmet Ramen noodles for dinner.
At the end of the day, although we are still in the learning phase of off-campus life, most would agree that there is really nothing better than living in a house with your eight best friends for an entire year. Together, we have collectively learned the important things in life, such as: Don’t stick a metal fork in a toaster, the importance of cleaning out the lint tray in the dryer, and of course most deli meats go bad after a week. It is our hope that we leave Foster with just a little more knowledge to help guide us through senior year.