In spring term, students round up their credit hours hoping that the total amount is higher than the others. They struggled to find a room that would be cost effective to them but also include what they want. They waited in upper WAC peering constantly at the dry erase board that indicates how many rooms are still available in certain dorm halls. Some walked away with luck on their side while others try to look at the bright side.
This year, my roommate and I decided to skip that frustration and adopt an alternate frustration of finding an apartment to rent. We decided it was time to catch a glimpse of living on our own; away from others cleaning after us, cooking our food, and any other service we rely on. When one comes to think of it, it doesn’t make sense to give up these positive aspects of dorm life, but we figured that it wouldn’t be a huge hassle to clean our apartment or cook our own food. We thought of it as a chance to test ourselves and see how well we can live on our own.
To our surprise we were able to find apartments as close as Center Street, North Ave, and Brainard Street for rent. We went on websites such as apartmentfinder.com, but we noticed that a lot of the apartments listed were targeted for a more higher income audience. Walking around Naperville, one can find “hole-in-the-wall” apartments. There were several places that looked like regular houses but actually consisted of being two or three apartments. Most of these apartments that we found ranged between $1,100 to $1,500 per month. My roommate and I started looking during the last month of the school year, which is not recommended. Looking at apartments this late in time would most likely guarantee that most apartments would already be taken. It can also set anxiety at times because you have to worry about a backup plan, such as living on campus, but you don’t want to have to pay the liquidation fee of $500 after a certain amount of time. We were fortunate enough to find an apartment at a reasonable price and just a couple blocks from campus.
Although this has been my second time living in an apartment, there are still few words of advice I wish people had told me. First, when looking at an apartment make sure to inspect absolutely everything. You don’t want to have to fix up anything on the apartment. That would include more work into your already busy schedule. Also, when you move in, take photos of any scratches, holes, or any other imperfection of the apartment. You don’t want the landlord to blame you for a damage that was previously there. Second, make a thorough list of what you’ll need for the apartment weeks or months before moving in. One doesn’t realize how much they need to live off of until they’re living on their own. Make sure to jot down even the most miniscule materials such as cleaning supplies or a dish brush. Third, make sure to review the lease very carefully. If you must call your parents before signing it then do so. You want to make sure you are getting a good deal when signing the lease. Fourth, if you’re tight on money there are several stores which you can get cooking utensils or furniture for very cheap prices. Stores such as Saver’s or Goodwill are an ideal place to get low priced tables, couches or plates to name a few. Lastly, communicate with your roommate(s). It’s important to know what is allowed in the apartment and set any rules that need to be followed. This will clarify any uncertainties you have about living with your roommate(s) and make living in an apartment easier and more enjoyable.
Many people would think that living on campus is easier, and I would have to agree with them. It’s easier to get to class, to stay later if you must and also be able to socialize. My roommate and I thought that if we’re going to end up paying approximately the same price that we live on campus on an apartment that we might as well give it a shot. Several students end up going through this path and if you happen to find a reasonably priced and distant apartment, it’s not a bad idea to give it a try.