Apartment move-in isn’t a cakewalk


This past week’s Facebook newsfeed has been dominated by a vast array of move-in day related posts and photos. Though abundant in quantity, these posts are all generally similar: They feature smiling freshmen, posed enthusiastically in front of a concrete wall decked out in “A Clockwork Orange” posters and asymmetrically hung Christmas tree lights, a lanyard bearing the name of their chosen institution dangling casually out of their pockets. They’re all well-meaning and generally nice posts. 

And they all do a very nice job of cutting out the really painful, draining and less talked-about side of move-in day. Because the fact of the matter is nobody’s move-in process is as clean and chipper as they appear online. 

In fact, sometimes, what you see on Facebook couldn’t be further from the truth. 

To the typical University student, the woes of shuffling a carefully selected portion of your belongings into the dorms is an all too familiar formidable task. The move-in process I undertook my freshman and sophomore year was just a preview, though, of what was to befall on my third year of college. 

The eve of my junior year was notably different, primarily due to the fact that I would be taking up residence in my first official apartment. My roommate and I happened upon an adequately cheap, two-bedroom deal just slightly off campus, in Urbana. 

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The official starting day of the lease was just days before the official first day of the fall semester. We would have liked a bit more time to settle in, to assure the proper installation and activation of all our utilities, to hang up more typical, frivolous college posters, etc. So this inconveniently timed move-in day was a bit cumbersome, but not excessively so, and we were really quite convinced that it would be the extent of our problems. Of course, this was bad judgment on my part.

My plight began with a text from my roommate, who had arrived on campus and picked up her key to the new place before me. She texted me to announce that there was only one mattress visible on the premises. The bed frame was also M.I.A. Luckily, though, the second bedroom was in better shape: A mattress was present, and the bed frame was there, too. It would have been a lot nicer if the bed frame weren’t busted beyond reasonable use, but they say beggars can’t be choosers, and this was apparently our “reward” for waiting until the last minute to sign a lease, right? 

That day and the next, we had maintenance workers visit our newly settled apartment on three separate occasions. In addition to the mattress situation, our toilet also proved to be slightly problematic in the sense that it failed to flush. The faucet in the sink detached from the counter practically any time you turned the handle, and the faucet in the adjacent tub exhibited a constant drip. Our move-in day was so abundant with messes and mini-disasters that it bordered on humorous. Let me assure you, though, it is far more enjoyable to watch others deal with escalating domestic disasters than to deal with it hands-on, in the real world. 

The transition that is often so difficult for many young adults — that from life at home to life at college — becomes truly evident once you settle into your first apartment. Dorm life was cramped and annoying, certainly, but it’s really just training wheels compared to the big kid two-wheeler that is adjusting to apartment life. And move-in day is merely a brief foreshadowing of all the wonderful adventures and responsibilities that are in store.

My adolescent, suburbanly-coddled self’s first instinct is to leer at the tragic unfairness of all my move-in day woes, but when all is said and done, such wallowing does absolutely nothing to change or solve the problem(s) at hand. Yes, it would have been convenient for moving to have been a 100 percent smooth ride.

But you get what you pay for, I suppose. Nobody who buys a six-pack of Ramen anticipates a gourmet feast in his near future, and kids who make their way into the magical world of college apartment living shouldn’t expect to encounter a stress-free, maintenance-free year on the home front.

Carly is a junior in FAA. She can be reached at [email protected].