April marks the beginning of a city-wide game of musical chairs as students look for new housing and prepare to leave their old abodes behind.
I’ve been through this shuffle three times at UND — first moving into Walsh Hall, then leaving and finding an apartment, and then finally landing in a rental house on Harvard Street. Looking for a new place and finding a group of people to live with can be exciting, but there are advantages and disadvantages to each living situation available to UND students.
First, there’s the residence halls. As a freshman, nothing was more liberating than moving out of Mom and Dad’s. But nine months later, nothing sounded better than moving out of Walsh. Granted, as the all-male dorm on campus, Walsh is a unique situation, but the dorms become uncomfortable for most students. Four white walls, a bunk and a roommate sounds awfully similar to another living situation. I would never truly call the dorms jail cells, but I will say that I did my time in Walsh, and I’m glad to be out.
After the dorms, I moved into an apartment with my older brother on North 39th Street. Apartment life was nice. It was cheap, maintenance-free and I had my own room. However, I couldn’t turn my guitar amplifier higher than three without the neighbors pounding on the walls. I yearned for a garage and even found myself wishing for a lawn to mow. There’s also the fact that no matter how careful you are, apartment buildings always have the smell of wet dog mixed with burned pasta.
Eventually, I moved into a duplex on Harvard Street. I was excited to have seven roommates to hang out with, a driveway to shovel and a garage to put my hunting stuff in. I love my house, but the work needed to maintain it piles up quickly, and it’s foolish to rely on roommates having the same living standard as yourself. In short, when the driveway needs shoveling or the lawn needs mowing, it’s easy for eight people to expect someone else to do it.
There’s also the social aspect for each type of living. Apartments are nice for having a few people over, but any more than 10 guests gets uncomfortable. Houses are obviously ideal for parties, but keep in mind that you might be allowing random, inebriated people into your personal space. There’s no guarantee that your laptop, windows or beer are safe. And don’t forget that parties usually don’t clean up after themselves.
There is a certain allure to living in a house, and rightfully so, but we also live in a city with houses that are more than 100 years old and have most likely been flooded at least once. I have yet to find a completely finished basement in Grand Forks, and I feel for students that live in moldy cement cellars not up to fire code.
Don’t be afraid of any living option, but plan ahead for each one.
Sam Wigness is the features editor for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]