Untangle the tech problems of your new apartment

For my third year on campus, I’m celebrating with the freedom that every college student waits to experience — I am living in my very first apartment. Yes, Mom, I am officially a grown-up. Goodbye summer savings and hello rent money. Little did I know, my lack of handy skills and spending money would give my housewarming a bumpy start. My hope is for my struggles to serve as a learning experience for not only me, but for all apartment dwellers.

*Sifting through an electrical jungle:*

Living in an apartment unfortunately comes with the daunting task of setting up the oh-so-elusive internet connection. Attempting to install the jungle of white cords that would soon consist of my wireless Internet quickly became a frustrating event in unit 119. After a half hour sitting cross-legged on my floor, cardboard boxes askew, my roommate called Comcast and gave them a piece of her mind. Yes, the “easy” self-installation would save us $30, but would it compromise our sanity? Maybe. My suggestion to all students: Spend the money, have someone come and save yourself from mind-blowing frustration. After stretching, prying, connecting and reconnecting every wire and outlet in our apartment, my angel of a roommate plugged in my laptop, and ‘tada,’ Gmail then proceeded to slap me in the face with 200 unread emails.

*Basking in the tundra air:*

Being the savvy money-saver I am, convincing my roommate to install our Internet was only the beginning. Because air conditioning seems to add exponentially to the electricity bill each month, we collectively decided we were strong enough to do without. After my first few days on campus I found that my ratio of air conditioning to showers is very positively related, meaning the money I saved via cold air would come back in my water bill. A walk around Quad Day for two hours only to come home to a sauna broke my spirit. Hello, air conditioning, you are welcome in my home any time. Sacrificing a few dollars each month on a savior from the heat is well worth the money, but keep in mind — the costs can be lowered by turning off the A/C when you leave your apartment.

*The monster behind the mysterious door:*

My first morning in my shiny not-so-new apartment began with some utility troubles. I awoke feeling rested and ready to conquer the Quad, only to set my feet down on a sodden carpet. My first thought was that I had spilled a beverage, lazily dropped a towel down to cover it and continued with my day. Flash forward five hours: I enter an apartment smelling completely of mold. I look down at the floor and find that the closet, conveniently placed next to my bed, is leaking water into my room. After tinkering around behind the tiny door that hides my nemesis, the water heater, I realized my technological skills had no power there. The back-to-school clothes stacked in my closet immediately visited the laundry room and a few angry messages were left for my apartment manager. I feel that, in general, problems with basic utilities are better dealt with by professionals. For speedy service, I suggest speaking to your apartment manager in person, rather than electronically submitting a maintenance request.

*Caffeine necessity:*

I must begin by letting students know that once I’m hooked to the Internet and Google Chrome is up and running, my ability to surf the World Wide Web deserves a gold medal. Unfortunately, no matter how many tabs I opened, I was unable to read the hieroglyphics on my ancient coffee maker. Alas, my first day of classes would begin with no coffee. Blame goes to my mother for packing up my family’s heirloom of an appliance and sending it off to school with me. Instead of sifting through your family’s storage closet, take a stroll down the appliance aisle at Wal-Mart and look for cheap items that will make it through the year.

_Becky is a junior in Media. _