As much as I hate to say it, this is my final year at Union. Just in case you haven’t noticed from any of my previous posts, I am obsessed with Union. Like, the same level of that line in the classic Mary-Kate and Ashley movie, It Takes Two: that can’t eat, can’t sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, World Series kind of stuff…that’s how I feel about Union. However, as sad as the prospect of leaving Union feels, it also brings plenty of new adventures. So far, my biggest has been living off campus and independently for the first time, and I have definitely learned a lot already.
- Your landlord is your best friend. When you no longer have Mom and Dad to fix every single broken appliance, or to help you change that light-bulb or when your basement floods due to burst pipes, that is where your trusty landlord comes in. Cultivating a friendly, mutually respectful relationship with your landlord is rule number one of living on your own, because unlike my parents back in Massachusetts, Paul the Landlord is just one phone call away to help us change the batteries in our smoke detectors (yes, that happened today). As independent as I like to be now that I am a senior, there are still things that I need a little help with, and thanks to my handy dandy landlord, I never need to struggle for too long.
- Food is expensive. Now that I don’t have a meal plan, my wallet has become marginally more thin. That being said, I now do all of my own grocery shopping and cooking every day rather than make daily Reamer visits. In the past years, I would splurge at least twice a week on delivery or going out to eat with friends. Now, that luxury has become a thing of the past. I’m a newfound penny-pincher, whose bank account is now reserved for splurging on groceries from Trader Joe’s and Fresh Market rather than Mr. Wasabi delivery.
- Club Schaffer is your second home. When you live with six of your best friends, it is absolutely impossible to get any work done, and I really wish I was exaggerating with impossible. As much as I love my housemates, they are way too distracting for me to study at home. I live on the third floor overlooking our living room and kitchen, and the walls are not exactly soundproof. I can hear the TV at all times and every conversation going on below, so the comfort and quiet of Schaffer Library is extremely necessary.
- Be nice to your neighbors. I am lucky enough to live surrounded by my best friends. With one common driveway, all of my neighbors are four houses full of friends who make living off-campus that much more fun. However, I do have one non-Union neighbor hugging one side of our house. In a big city like Schenectady, not all of your neighbors are going to be June and Ward Cleaver, and senior year is a good lesson in being a respectful and courteous adult, conscious of how your behavior will affect those around you who may not share the same affinity for frat parties.
- Thank your parents. As much as I would like to say I am totally independent – financially and otherwise – that is woefully far from the truth. Having the absolute time off my life off campus as a senior would never have been even remotely possible if it were not for the very generous help from my parents! They are the reason I am even at Union, let alone living in my favorite house in the world, 22.5.