With each year that passes I look back and I can see how much I’ve grown as a person. My slow transformation into adulthood took a huge step this year when I decided to rent my first apartment with four of my close girl friends. Having lived on campus for two years prior, I was excited to see what this new living environment would bring. Our 5-bedroom apartment is on the second floor of an old townhouse, and right in the middle of downtown life. Little bodegas litter the street I live on and I get to call an old brick coffee house my next door neighbor. The neighborhood is a mixture of college students and people who live there all year round. You may have a frat house on one side of you and a family of five on the other. The clash of the different cultures is very prevalent yet we all coexist together peacefully. One of my biggest concerns when moving into my apartment was my safety. I just spent all this time living in this monitored, super safe bubble that is campus housing and now I’m suddenly walking the streets of Albany alone just to get home. With all the dangers that lurk in the neighborhood I live in, I try to be as smart and safe as possible. Despite all this, it’s still amazing to have a place to call my own. There’s a lot more responsibility that come with having an apartment but my housemates and I have been up for the challenge and there’s honestly no better feeling than being able to share a space with my best friends.
Straying away from campus has brought a lot of changes to my daily life in Albany. The biggest one is how far I now live from campus and how I am now adjusting to life as a commuter student. I’m losing the privilege of being able to roll out of my bed minutes before class, having to now find a way to get all the way up to campus. The average trip takes about 20 minutes out of my morning, depending on the means in how I get there. My parents refuse to allow me to have a car while I’m a school so driving myself is out of the question but I have many friends who live in the same area as me so finding a ride usually isn’t a problem. It’s the days when I can’t find a ride that I face some difficulty.
Over the course of 2 years I’ve gotten pretty familiar with how the bus system works, and for the most part it requires a lot of standing around and waiting. I’m not usually the impatient type but you can see how this is a problem especially when the harsh winter of Albany rolls in. Some may look at the commute to school as a burden but I think that it benefits me more as student and person then living in the dorms. I am forced to wake myself up and get ready for my day an hour or so before class, or else risk the chance of missing it. Having this extra time in the morning actually helps me have a productive day, as I’m not rolling out of bed half asleep like a bum.
When waiting for my commute uptown I will cook myself breakfast or finish up some homework and with each passing day become more content with being a morning person. It is also beneficial because when I lived on campus and had an hour or two in between my classes, I would just go back to my dorm room and nap. Now I will spend my off time in the library doing work because making the trip back home is too time consuming. I already see my work ethic improving because I live downtown and for the times that I am home and need to do work, the downtown library is a 5-minute walk from my door.
The responsibilities of living in my own apartment range from personal to communal. I have to make sure I feed myself because I can’t just walk to one of the dining halls. Getting used to having my own kitchen has been a learning process because I never realized how little I knew about cooking. It is also surprisingly time consuming, especially if you have to prep your food hours in advance. The number of times I’ve had to eat out because I absentmindedly forgot to defrost my chicken, is too many to count. I’m still getting the hang of it and the more I do learn about cooking, the more adult I feel. With cooking however comes cleaning, something I despise more than anything. I know that living in an apartment, especially with other people, I have to clean up after myself with everything. My housemates and I have a cleaning chart and will have a big house cleanup at the end of each week. There isn’t much that beats living in a clean house. Living in my first apartment has definitely brought some changes in my life but it is just another new and exciting chapter in my life and I’m excited to see what will come next.
Melissa F. Class of 2018 Majors: Spanish & Communication Blog Theme: Fierce & Freaked
Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.