This year, I find myself living in Collegetown, a departure from the beautiful dorm hallways and delicious dining halls of Becker on West Campus, or the convenience and community that is the group of freshmen dorms on North Campus.
Upon second glance, writing that “I find myself” in Collegetown isn’t the best word choice, because it doesn’t convey how actively I searched and scrambled in order to live in Collegetown this year. Every year, houses and apartments in Collegetown become fully leased quicker and quicker. Proof of this is that people have already started showing their apartments to prospective students for next year, as early as the first week of school. It’s not fair, but the mad stampede that is the off-campus housing search seems to intensify with each year, creating a time crunch that makes it difficult for students to make fully informed and satisfying decisions. I might write about this issue in another post, but for now, I’d like to write about something a little simpler: a brief list about ways that off-campus living has proved to be convenient, inconvenient, challenging, rewarding, fun, and frustrating so far this year.
1) Friendship: I’m happy to be able to live with some of my best friends. It’s so much easier to coordinate study sessions, dinners, or leisure activities when you’re all living in the same house. 2 AM study sessions become much more fun and tolerable when you have your friends beside you!
2) Facilities: If you are frustrated trying to cool yourself off with a frozen bag of corn on a Saturday night, then you might have been me, last week, when it was upwards of 85 degrees in Ithaca. My house, like many others in Collegetown, does not have air conditioning. This proves to be a challenge during the first two weeks of school, but luckily Ithaca is quick to cool off and merge into autumn. Also, this depends on where you live — another reason why thorough searching is important.
3) Cooking: I’ve met so many people who complain about how much they miss the dining halls. But, I can’t say I completely agree. Although the dining halls are really wonderful, there’s also something rewarding about cooking on your own and finding ways to make edible, enjoyable food in a time crunch. Also, not having to share a kitchen with an entire floor of people is great, too.
4) Convenience: Most of C-town might not be as close to campus as the residence halls, but C-town is bustling and convenient for many other reasons! Especially as an upperclassmen, most of my friends now live in C-town, and they are just a few brisk steps away if I want to meet with them. Other main attractions include CTB (Collegetown Bagels), especially during the coveted Bagel Tuesdays.
In general, despite the often less than ideal and difficult situations that living off-campus has put me through, I’d recommend most upperclassmen to at least consider it for their final years at Cornell.