Anyone who went away to college knows the “HERE’S MY FREEDOM! LET THE FUN BEGIN” phase of life. Don’t get us wrong, parents, you were great, and we are appreciative, but there is something so exciting about living with your friends and eating cereal for every meal.
After a seven-hour trek to Philadelphia and many hugs goodbye, I was left at my new dorm to meet some adolescent strangers with whom I could bond over my choice of college with. Race Hall was to be my home away from home for the next year.
Or so I thought. After months of living with three other girls on an international floor, I had grown accustomed to almost never sleeping in my own bed. Turns out that not everyone becomes best friends with their actual roommates, so they have to pretend to be roommates with their actual best friends.
One morning, I was awoken by my slightly alarmed (trying to not seem alarmed for my sake) friend. She said, “Hey there, bud. What floor in Race do you live on?” Half-asleep I tried to figure it out myself. We mutually decided it was the fourth floor. She proceeded to say, “I think your room is on fire.”
Technology is a weird thing. It makes it so you don’t even have to be looking at a building to find out it’s on fire. Erica and I decided we should make sure the email she received was not spam and check it out for ourselves. Turns out, my room was not on fire. Before you feel a sense of relief for my past self, let me tell you that it had actually flooded. Not just my room, but three floors of the building.
As we entered the lobby, I was told that I had one hour to pack a week’s worth of belongings and leave the building. In a state of shock, I called my mom, who must have been living out the “HERE’S MY FREEDOM! LET THE FUN BEGIN” phase of her life. Bad timing, mom. I called my dad and immediately said, “So my room has flooded, what should I do?” Though confused, he decided to find me a home first and ask questions later. While some students were being relocated to dorm rooms with disgruntled freshman, I stayed in a hotel for the week while they surveyed the damage.
I gloated to my friends about my new living arrangement and they immediately decided to move in with me. Erica came with me to check into my hotel room. Brooke followed with a packed suitcase for herself (keep in mind: Brooke’s room didn’t flood) and called the front desk to ask where the pool was located.
Almost as abruptly as the Suite Life of Jessica began, it ended. While most were able to move back into their dorm rooms, I was to be permanently relocated to Towers Hall. My new room came with two roommates and bunk beds. We shared a bathroom with our entire floor and some ugly critters with a name that rhymes with rockroaches.
In June, my housing adventures came to a pause as I traveled home to Buffalo.
September came around and brought with it a new apartment building and new roommates. Thankfully we made it through the entire year without someone hitting an emergency sprinkler in the hallway with a football. My friends abandoned me to live in the ghetto (don’t worry, they are good friends other than that) so I went to look for a place on my own.
For my third year at Drexel, I moved into a studio apartment. It was nice! Minus the hole in my bathroom ceiling right above the toilet. Shortly after that was temporarily patched up, a pipe burst in my bathroom. I think the Goo Goo Dolls wrote the song Flood in honor of me. “You’re the flood, you’re the flood, you’re the flood that opened my heart.” So sweet, but this flood did more than open my heart.
After an hour of calling an emergency line that led straight to voicemail, I had to turn off bathroom Niagara Falls by shutting off the water for my whole building. With that silly story under my belt, I was finally enjoying my new apartment. So much so that I began to feel light-headed. It ended up not being the feeling of enjoyment that gave me this headache. It was a gas leak.
I know what you’re thinking. “Call the emergency voicemail! That will be really helpful!”
It wasn’t, believe it or not. Philadelphia Gas Works came to my rescue and showed me how to relight the pilot light on my gas stove. Thanks, guys.
A month went by and I found myself battling some rockroaches again. Why won’t you let me live my life???
One day, while doing my laundry, I came across a sad cat in my basement. “Don’t worry little fella. I will buy you cat food. For now, eat this salami from my fridge.” As I fed this trapped cat salami, another tenant living in my home came down to do his laundry. To him, I was the girl who shut off his water and told him not to light any matches to avoid the house blowing up. Now I was the girl who was feeding a stray cat salami in our basement.
The next day, I came down with my salami for this poor cat only to find out that he invited all of his cat friends over for a party. There were now 9 cats “trapped” in my basement. The ultimate betrayal. These cats had versatile friendships because they also invited a possum to their catered event.
As I allowed the cats (and possum) to come and go from my basement, I began to feel itchy in my apartment. These cats had now crossed the line. They invited fleas not only into my basement, but into my actual apartment. I called my dad and told him about the fleas. He decided the best course of action was to put a bug bomb in my apartment. He seemed to recognize my bad luck though and felt the need to show me how to open the bug bomb without pointing it at my eyes. Thanks, dad.
Meanwhile, I lived a normal life, except for when I had to use the bathroom. The hole in the ceiling of my bathroom leaked right above my toilet so I had to hold a bucket to avoid getting leaked on.
Somehow I survived this madness (and got my whole security deposit back, thank you very much). Now I live in a cheaper, much nicer apartment, with plum colored walls and limited critters.
While I aim to inspire, I mostly wanted to write about this comedic, yet true part of my life for entertainment purposes. What I can say about this entire experience is that I gained perspective on apartment living. I find the beauty in most apartments, even if they aren’t luxurious, as long as they are leak, cat* and flea-free.
*Note: I still love cats. Just not the manipulative feral ones.