This is my last week of grad school at Teachers College, Columbia University. Unless, of course, I fail any of my finals. In which case, I will be returning next semester! But I’m pretty sure that will not happen.
Nevertheless, let’s keep our fingers crossed. And toes. And any other anatomical parts that can be entwined with each other to make sure that I do indeed pass everything and can officially call this the last week of my formal education.
With my last week of grad school comes my last week of living here in my dorm room. I’ve started the packing process and boy, oh boy, do I have a lot of stuff. When I came down here in January, I was able to jam-pack everything (including Tom and I) into Tom’s teeny tiny Honda Prelude, with room to see through the back window. Safety first, right?
I know this is very cliché but it seriously feels like I moved in only a couple months ago, not 11! And I didn’t realize just how much I have made this room my own until I started packing and taking inventory of all that I will have to squeeze into the still-tiny car.
As I took down my collage of pictures and the multi-colored Christmas lights that have been hanging all year, my room has become very bare, blah, and un-me. So much so that it actually seems too big now. A dorm room in NYC that seems too big?! I know, crazy.
I remember the first time I had unlocked the door to my new home back in January and was extremely surprised at how small it was. I mean, me and my belongings were packed into 215 square feet; where would everything go? I was so used to having a whole house to myself back home, so coming here was like being confined to my bedroom with a bathroom squeezed in. Little did I know, this is how Manhattan is; unless you are able to pay an arm and a leg and your first born child, this is considered normal for the size and price.
Although my room came with a refrigerator/microwave combo, the actual kitchen was conveniently located right across the hall from my room, which was nice if I actually needed a toaster or stove top. But holy cow, how was my body and all of my stuff supposed to fit in such a tiny space?!
Living in NYC, you realize just how valuable storage is. Thank God for the armoire with two shoe drawers at the bottom, hanging space in the middle, and a cubby space at the top. Oh, and the 5-drawer dresser. And the cabinet above the fridge/microwave for my food. And the three drawers under my bed. And the little wheel-y drawer thing that fit under my desk. And the bookshelf. And the cabinet under the sink in my bathroom. After a couple weeks in the room, I realized just how adequate this space was – I had room for everything, and I didn’t need anything else.
As you can see, my “apartment” was located right next to the elevator, which was surprisingly unnoticeable. I was kind of worried seeing as my first dorm room at Geneseo was right next to the garbage room. The custodian was not concerned about our wanting to sleep past 7 a.m. on Saturday mornings, as we usually were woken up by the clanging of the metal cans.
But I digress.
You may also notice that my room is the smallest – I think all of the other rooms had an extra closet or something. It also seems like they all have bath tubs, whereas the X in my bathroom represents the stand-up shower. But that’s fine with me because I didn’t end up needing another closet. And, seriously, who has time for baths anymore?
Also, because I got a corner room, my room has two windows! The one looks upon the south end of the building, so there isn’t much a view when sitting on my bed. But the other window looks out upon East Harlem, so I’ve gotten to see some pretty amazing sunrises.
Like this one:
Overall, my time living in Manhattan has been good. Sure, there were lonely times in that little room, as nothing around me was familiar, I didn’t know anyone, and I tried to stay away from spending money when I didn’t have a job. I definitely will not miss that bed as it was very uncomfortable. I will not miss the brownish water from the sink; luckily I got a Brita pitcher, but still, that’s gross. And having to wait for the shower to heat up in the morning…sometimes it wasn’t until I was washing my face (the last step in my shower routine) that the water would become bearable.
And, as is the case everywhere in NYC, the heat/air conditioningwas such a pain in the arse. See, here in the city, it’s pretty much all or nothing. From October 1st through May 31st is considered “heat season,” so nothing but heat comes out of the units. The rest of the year, the units are air conditioners. And there is no control over the temperature – it’s either on or off – so you just turn it on when you get cold (or hot between May 31st and October 1st), then turn it off when it gets to a comfortable temperature. So needless to say I’ve fallen asleep many a nights in a chilly room since, if I left the heat going when I fell asleep, I would wake up sweating.
So anyways, this week I’ll be slowly packing stuff up, as they are kicking everyone out by 11 a.m. on Saturday the 21st. Even though finals don’t end until Thursday evening. I mean, I have work in Brooklyn every day, then a final exam Monday evening, a 10ish-page paper due Tuesday evening, class Wednesday evening (we got a take-home final for that class, thank goodness), and a final exam Thursday evening. Luckily I have a half day of work on Friday, so Tom’s coming into the city with his car and hopefully we’ll get everything packed into his car and we’ll get going that evening.
I’m off to live at Tom’s parents’ house for the time being; they have a guest bedroom that I always stay in when I’m there anyways, so they’ve been calling it my room for awhile now, anyway. Since I have my job in Brooklyn until June, I looked at getting a room in Brooklyn, but rent is just too damn high. So yeah, with the wedding coming up in about 8 months (yay!!), student loan payments in 6, my Invisalign, and whatever else I need (food, maybe?), I figure saving $800/month might be a good idea. The commute is going to be annoyingly long, but I’ll get a lot of reading done on the train. And hopefully some sleep.