Apartment Living 101

By Lily Villa


Getting out of the house and finally becoming independent is something I feel a lot of college students look forward to. Living in an apartment is nice because you can essentially do whatever you want whenever you want. Though it’s not always as easy as we’d like, it is something you’ll learn from and get better at.

Since I graduated from a community college in Chicago’s western suburbs, I lived with my parents for the first two years of my college career. Sometimes it was a hassle to drive back and forth from class to work to my house every day of the week, but eating homemade food after class almost made it worth it.

That’s probably one of the first things you’ll miss about home once you move into your apartment. You’ll get to the point where you run out of places to eat on Green Street, or you’ll notice that all your money is going to fast food. I won’t say I’m a chef and cook gourmet meals for myself every day, but I’ve learned enough in the kitchen to get by. Doing grocery shopping and stocking up on pastas, soup, bagels, and cereal ends up being less expensive (and probably healthier) than buying Jimmy John’s every day.

Another thing I’ve learned thanks to living in an apartment is the value of getting out and getting involved. I’ve never lived in a dorm room, so I can’t speak on that, but I know most students who have, ended up meeting most of their friends on their dorm floor or complex. Having your own bedroom in an apartment is nice, but it is not as easy to meet or interact with people if you never get out. Luckily, there are so many clubs and organizations at U of I that already exist that you can become a part of. All it takes is to have that motivation to get out!

Last but not least: roommates. Getting along with your roommates is essential to living in an apartment. I say this because you’ll have to share common areas like a kitchen, living room, and bathroom. I live with two other girls, and we have learned how important it is to make sure everyone’s on the same page with cleaning responsibilities, general “house rules,” and that rent and bills are taken care of. My biggest advice is to be vocal with your roommates, and express any concerns early on so they don’t become bigger problems later on.

Living in an apartment can be enjoyable, or it can be hectic- it all depends on how you approach it. For me, it was something completely new, but I’ve definitely gotten the hang of it, and so will you!

Housing Opinion – Transfer Cluster

By Harsh Agarwal
Psychology Major & Member of TAG

UPDATE: As of Fall 2015, the Transfer Cluster will now be located in Scott Hall which is part of the Ikenberry Commons South neighborhood.

As we transition to another school, there is so much apprehension on where to live. There’s so many questions-“Should I get a dorm the size of my room or an apartment with some friends?” “What if I get stuck with a bad roommate?” “Will I make friends?”-I was in the same boat not too long ago. Despite gaining so much at my community college and having a fruitful experience there, after hearing some of my friends’ stories and experiences, I realized that being at a community college never really gave me what so many of my friends were experiencing at their universities; “the college experience.”

When I looked at some of my housing options, I was told that there is a cluster in one of the dorms specifically designated for transfer students. I was happy when I heard this because I knew I would already have something in common with other people and it would be easy for me to relate to them and form a connection.

So I made the decision to go with university housing for the first year and I selected Hopkins in the Transfer Cluster as one of my top choices. A few weeks later I got placed in the transfer cluster! I knew that now I would experience what my friends experienced during their years in the dorms.

As everything got settled, it turned out that everyone bonded instantly and all the apprehension I felt just disappeared! We all acknowledged the fact that we were all in the same boat and everyone was willing to get to know one another. My floor mates were very friendly and greeted each other as they walked by. We would often all go have dinner together and participate in fun events. We made our own Facebook page and kept in contact with each other through group texts using an app called “Groupme.” This way, we planned out different events we could all do together, shared some jokes, and helped each other out on various assignments. As cliché as it may sound, everyone became a family.

I can definitely say that staying in the transfer cluster the first year was a wise decision on my part. I was able to network and meet so many great people with whom I plan to keep in contact with even after the year ends. This is not to say that it’s not a wise decision to not live in the dorms the first year, because everyone is different. But if you’re looking for a fresh start and willing to meet some great, new people, the transfer cluster is an excellent place to start your journey as a transfer student at Illinois!