The 2008 Housing Lottery: Getting the Hell out of Dodge
Written by Bwog Staff
From Wien to Woodbridge to Ruggles, we’ve explored many on-campus housing options this week. Now, it’s time to go off-campus with Brooklynite Bwog editors Zach van Schouwen and Mariela Quintana where they will debate the pros and cons of shacking up in New York’s better borough.
PRO: Hipsters and $2 Beer
Brooklyn! Behind every tenement door a hipster, and behind every hipster a wonderful electronic music ensemble. As one strolls down the storied streets and avenues of the fairest borough, occasionally one’s mind is drawn back to the memory of living in Columbia housing. “Oh, yes,” one thinks, “how strange a time that was. To think that I agreed to live in a 94-square-foot room with a complete stranger, wore shoes in the shower and woke every morning to the smell of garbage wafting up from One Hundred Fourteenth Street.” Still, the memory is so distant that it may have only been a dream, an awful dream: you open a bar’s door at random and find a beautiful girl singing clever progressive folk songs under soft lighting, and $2 beer. It is worth mentioning to visitors that there is, of course, no cover.
Living off campus, in all seriousness, is pretty fantastic. The key facts: you’re often saving money (What? Yes.) by not living at Columbia. There’s more space. Bars don’t have bouncers — well, not any bar you’d allow yourself to be seen in. You get a healthy dose of perspective; at long last, you can be surrounded by people who aren’t talking about Hegel.
Certainly, there are downsides. You’ll have to make friends worldly enough to travel outside Manhattan on noblesse oblige. And after stumbling down 16 flights in EC, there’s nothing like realizing you have a 52-minute ride on a deserted subway back home. Still, once you climb the stairs and walk into your apartment — which, by the way, has multiple rooms and a stove — you’ll wonder how you could really have put up with the indignities of Housing.
CON: The Chronicles of a Commuter
Sure, living in Brooklyn may give me a certain mystique and an aloof disinterest in all CCSC gossip. But the guarantee of arriving to every social event fashionably late is not worth it. And really whom am I kidding? Living in Brooklyn has earned me the title “That off-campus chick” far more than it has any mystique. As you I’m sure have already ascertained, dear reader, I am here to offer you a list – a very condensed list, be sure – of the disadvantages of living off campus.
- Occasionally forgetting your wallet at home becomes a perpetually anxiety. Try getting through a day without your CUID–you will never will hate campus security so much.
- Relying on Cubmail as a substitute for telecommunication when your cell phone battery unexpectedly dies.
- Chronic back pain due to your oversized backpack, overstuffed with your laptop, notebooks, econ textbook, art history reader, gym clothes, a spare umbrella and whatever else you dorm-dwellers might conveniently store in your rooms.
- Deigning to use the lockers in Butler to store your stuff overnight. Think of it as your very own 3×1 apartment – and hey, who wants Scoliosis?
- Discovering that overnight use of lockers is granted on a semester long basis only after you arrive Wednesday morning to find your lock clipped and your locker empty. Your books, your camera, your laptop and your favorite sweatshirt gone.
- Arriving to every lecture five minutes late.
- Realizing the excuse “But, I live in Brooklyn,” doesn’t suffice since all your professors and TAs probably live in Brooklyn too.
- Taking a $40 cab back to Brooklyn after one too many Long Island Iced Teas at 1020 on a Saturday night.
- Taking the subway back to Brooklyn after one too many Long Island Iced Teas at 1020 on a Saturday night. Then waking up in a deserted subway car on Avenue S somewhere in Brooklyn. Then taking a $40 cab from Avenue S home.
- Living your life in two different places.