Friday, May 18, 2012

Goal Number Next: To Not be Homeless

I graduate in 3 and a half weeks. I start working in DC in six and a half weeks. Thus, the only goal right now is to find a place to live (which certain professors evidently just don't care about when they assign 14-pg take-home exams to be done in 4 days over the last pre-holiday weekend of the month). But moving somewhere from out of town is more difficult than I'd previously imagined. 

Struggle #1: Where do I want to live? 

When I first started this search, my answer was just in the city limits, rather than in Maryland or Virginia. Then I realized that DC is, like any other city, made up of lots of little neighborhoods, and that some places were convenient for me to get to work and that others weren't. My older sister used to live in DC and so she's trying to give me input, but her opinion of the safety of various neighborhoods is like 9 years old. At this point, I think that I would most preferably like to live in the Atlas District, Shaw, Mt. Vernon, Ledroit Park, or on the Hill.

Struggle #2: How do I want to live?

Should I jump right into this independent living thing, or take it easy and get roommates to start? If I want to live by myself, should I be trying to do so in a studio or 1BR? I have an irrational opinion of studio apartments: they seem like it would be weird to have people over, even though they're basically the exact same thing as a dorm room. Maybe I just feel like any place I live when I am working a real job and making real money should be a considerable upgrade from dorm living. But trying to furnish a whole 1BR apartment straight out of college sounds like start-up costs I can't afford. And living alone in a new city sounds like I could be lonely. But on the other hand, it sounds like it might force me out to explore. But I had a roommate in Chicago and still felt encouraged to go out and explore, and sometimes had an exploring buddy. At this point, I've decided that I would prefer to move into a 3+ bedroom house or apartment with other young professionals, because having a group of people to introduce me to other people and hang out sounds awesome and only having to furnish my bedroom sounds cost-effective. 

Struggle #3: Distance is a bitch

I think that this will always be true, regardless of the context in which we're discussing the bitchiness of distance. In this case, it's difficult to coordinate how to actually meet people and see places. I'm going to have to go to DC--probably next Monday-Wednesday--but that means spending money to get there and missing shifts at work in which I could be making more money. In-person viewing/meeting seems fairly necessary for any situation involving roommates, though. Then scheduling these meetings is extraordinarily difficult. Most people seem to be having open houses on weekends, and this damned take-home is preventing me from being able to be in DC right now. Next weekend is a holiday weekend, so a lot of people are going out of town and unavailable. This means I'll have to try to squeeze in all of my viewings over the course of two evenings (maybe an afternoon if someone has a non 9-5 work schedule) while navigating DC public transit for the first time, at least some of which will probably be after dark, as I'll have to wait for people to get off of work. This sounds like the opposite of fun. I'm not looking forward to it at all.

Struggle #4: People are ineffective writers/advertisers. 

There are certain things you should include in an advertisement for a room in a house/apt with roommates. As a bare minimum, I would suggest these things: the size of the room, or what comfortably fits in it now if you haven't got a tape measurer or whatever; the age/gender breakdown of the other people living in the house; a short description of what these people are like; whether utilities are included in the rent; some amenities within walking distance. Occasionally people only have one or two of these five things. That, people looking for roommates, is simply not helpful to my life. I've legitimately resorted to language-profiling to figure out whether the person writing an ad is male or female, which makes me feel all gender essentialist-y and shitty.

Struggle #5: Every minute I spend doing schoolwork, leases are being signed and my potential for homelessness is rising.

Every time I click on a listing I had favorited to see that the posting was deleted by its author or it has expired from Padmapper's map, I get a little more scared. I legitimately don't understand how Princeton University expects me to function successfully in my post-graduate life if it won't give me a break to establish the means by which to function in the real world. I feel like I'm going to rush into something just for the sense of security it will bring, which is generally not a good look, no matter what aspect of your life it relates to. I have a couple of places lined up to look at, though. I'm hoping everything will work out.  #wishmeluck

One thing that put a smile on my face today: someone emailed me back to let me know that while I sounded like a great addition to their house, they had already filled the room, but to let them know if I wound up in the area, as they were planning to have a barbeque sometime in June. Even if he didn't mean it, that was really nice of him. I like cities whose neighborhoods have that small-town come-over-for-a-bbq feel.     

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