If there were a magazine dedicated to the issues and drama of college housing off campus after dorm-life, the cover would be gross porch couches of college student-rented housing. Overtime, dorm-life became the norm then, suddenly, JUNIOR YEAR!, and you have to find a group to get an apartment with or seek an individual room in a house with housemates all while juggling rent on a shoestring college student budget–and this is the leader of list; later comes dealing with rent and utilities as housemates and how grocery become divided. It all comes in waves of period of less stress relative to the times of rent being due and bills coming in.

I am now a senior in college. I have two siblings who went through college before I, and neither ever uncovered the mystery of college housing when required on campus living ends after sophomore year.

My college right now is building new dormitory complexes to be more apartment style to encourage on campus living as a possible option. The college also owns actual houses sprinkled in surrounding neighborhoods. You apply to live in them and it is based on a lottery system for who gets what. Some units are newly renovated, others that are single or double person units are usually older or more frequently used so they’re more worn. I wish I had that insight during my sophomore year search.

The house I solidified an agreement with was a house that an upperclassman friend of mine was also living in the time. She lived with a couple other people I knew and I felt a connection to living in that house even after they graduated. I did not know my housemates at the time I committed to living in–it was a spur of the moment decision of sorts. For Junior year, I lived in a 4 person house for a very cheap rent and utilities were decent. “Adulting” is more subtle that you think.

I guess why this is an important topic to bring up is because independence that comes with college life is often blurry during the first two years. When it’s time to “adult” a lot of students run into obstacles if they don’t have someone who has done the whole college experience that is willing to teach them and share. Of course college living will definitely be a resource to consult when needing options found and explained; my college’s off-campus housing program is very simple and well organized which makes it way easier.

The end comes so much faster than you think!

These last two months wrapped up not exactly neatly, or organized, or as expected. It all started early April, when professors were giving out the final syllabus for the next couple of weeks as well as beginning to rack up pace to cover enough to give an exam on the last day of classes as well as the final exam during final periods.

I was given a heap of projects: Creative Writing: 2, World Theatre: 1, Petrology:3, and Soils: 1. I am a geology-environmental studies major and my goal for this semester was to satisfy my art credits for distribution requirements and I did! Success! Distribution at a lot of schools seems daunting, it’s fairly simple to hit some like quantitative analysis and classics. Others are a little abstract or take some more planning. In retrospect, I could have done a better job of addressing my art credits earlier, such as my first year here, but I didn’t feel motivated to do anything art related.

Then junior year hit. What isn’t usually addressed is professors leaning more toward first year students to accept and deny upperclassman because of class ranking (most arts are 100 level) and assumed lack of interest because if your are reaching for distribution requirements early senior year, you’ll have a hard time being accepted into any art course. I’d honestly think this system at a small Liberal Arts College would not be an issue, but alas, distribution requirements should be mapped out. But in my frenzy for pre-registration for my Spring semester of my Junior year, I found that theater classes can fulfill requirements and are fee free–perfect!

I really enjoyed my World theater class and Creative Writing. Both gave my scientific minded self a bit more leeway for creative thought and the use of writing and performance together to create an experience. Both classes’ projects did not phase me, they stretched and scratched my skill and skull to best thread together a better writing practice for any geology papers I will need to write in my career. The class Ecology and Geology of Soils was also one of my favorite classes at Whitman. Petrology is for my geology major, it was captivating in it’s own way–much difficult.

With all these projected projected onto us with 3 week left in the semester, the beat and pulse of campus becomes tinged in stress and the air become rigid, if you can imagine. Student want like caffeine zombies ready to pounce at a hot cup of joe, even if lie in a professor’s hand.I avoided this a little, not much. I actually began to limit my caffeine since it can create havoc on my nerves and keep me jittery under too much stress (just enough stress of finals and I fall asleep instead). Around halfway through the second week, everyone on campus (even professors) were on edge. Campus felt like a beehive with cranky bees.

Our finals period lasted for 5 days, but my finals concluded in the first two days. I was finished relatively early and am now a rising Senior! So exciting! Level up! Without flopping over for a couple days of course, my brain and body were worn and wrists from typing were worn. What felt like a week was 3 and then I was suddenly done with it all. My body is still tapering off from the stress induced motivation, trying to switch back to leisure mode. Has not happened yet–

BECAUSE… I HAVE RESEARCH THIS SUMMER! YAY! I was accepted as a research assistant for my Petrology professor and we will be analyzing the mineralogy of volcanic clays used for pottery by early Aleutian people. I took this opportunity because I wanted to be comfortable with geologic machinery and tools used in labs. I will be working with an SEM, secondary electromagnetic telescope.

Then the end of May crept up–it’s June now–which is exactly how “adulting” creeps up. While all of this academically was happening, I was also in the process of moving houses. From my four person house, I moved to a 3 person. I am living with my two best friends and it will be amazing. The idea of living together got me through the toughness of finals but this whirlwind of new leases and security deposits, ending bills, how to discard of couches, microwaves–years of junk left from seniors before us who lived in the house (yes, my two upperclassmen friends contributed to this mess). The last week has been furniture moving, research work, I now work at the gym for the summer as well, I am fully moved in to my new house and my bills are accounted for.

Independent housing situations are a true trial of college living and one to prepare for mentally, financially, and socially. Look for housemates or figure a group of people you wouldn’t mind bunking with for a year because living alone is much more expensive. I’m so glad to be in a small town where prices and housing are very accessible, larger towns and cities–good luck.

Thanks for reading~~~