Michigan State is blessed with a beautiful campus – but not residence halls.
My freshman year, I was placed in the campus’ dump they call East Neighborhood. My box of a dorm in Hubbard Hall was cramped, hot (both in the summer and winter), loud and old. Even though my floor was considered a “quiet floor,” most of the time it was nothing but.
My floor mates would blast music at any hour of the day, use the hallway as their personal playground and my suite mate would play video games until ungodly hours and shout into his headset.
Because the room was so small, lofting my bed was a necessity to fit any sort furniture in the room. As a result, the low ceiling became a constant annoyance when going to bed and made changing the sheets become a sweaty and frustrating 20-minute process.
The suite-style bathroom, although convenient, quickly became more disgusting than a gas station restroom. Hair was all over, my suite mates constantly pooped (and not just the plop, more of a dramatic splatter) and no one cleaned it. Magically, the bathroom would get cleaned by yours truly and would take around an hour to finally make it usable again.
Hubbard didn’t make up for the poor living conditions with its dining hall. Every meal I felt like I was eating yesterday’s leftovers. The chicken was dry. The lettuce had many brown edges. The fruit tended to look unappetizing. Even the desserts often disappointed. It was no Shaw dining hall, that’s for sure.
Although MSU has nicer, renovated dorm rooms in almost every other neighborhood besides East, I decided I wasn’t all about the dorm life. At the end of my freshman year, I signed onto a lease for an apartment off campus with my roommate I had at Hubbard and two other friends of ours. I was pumped to finally live in a big boy apartment.
With two bedrooms, a relatively big living room, full kitchen and two and half bathrooms and a balcony, the apartment was more than double the size of my old dorm room at a considerably lower price.
After three trips back and forth from my home in Novi, Michigan, the apartment finally had all the components of a great home; a comfy new mattress, broken-in couches straight from my family room at home, a TV and the very essential George Foreman grill. Even though my apartment complex is a five minute walk away from campus, I feel like I am miles away from the chaos of the dorms.
Despite the apartment’s homeyness, one thing was missing – my mother in the kitchen. Living at home, I took my mom’s countless hours spent in the kitchen for granted. Because I never really bothered to help her, I found myself lost in this forbidden room. During my first attempt to cook dinner, I quickly called my mom in a panic. “How much water do I put in the pot? How high do I put the stove? How long do I have to keep it in there?” Mind you, all this chaos was over boiling pasta.
With my mom on the phone walking me through step by step, I was able to finish the meal with relatively no drama. I even made myself a piece of garlic bread and a side salad to go along with my meal – I was pretty proud of myself.
After making my meals for a week, cooking got old real fast. Cooking is way more time consuming than I ever realized.
Spending upwards of 30 minutes sweating and watching over my meal, I have quickly gained a new appreciation for the time my mom spends in the kitchen.
Not only was someone not cooking the meal for me, the pantry wasn’t magically restocking. My grandma always raves about Kroger so I thought I’d try it out.
I had never been to a grocery store by myself. Walking in confidently with no list, I grabbed a cart and it all went downhill from there. Looking at all the aisles like questions on a test, I suddenly forgot everything I needed. After getting home, I realized I forgot many essentials such as milk and butter – but I had loads of snack foods.
But worst of all is paying for air conditioning and heat. I can survive without AC but having no heat has become a huge problem. With my roommates trying to save every little penny, they have decided heat is too expensive.
In my own apartment, my hands and toes on are on the verge of frostbite. On my bed, I have three comforters, a sleeping bag and two other blankets just to keep somewhat warm throughout the night. Guess it’s another story for the grandkids.
Even though living off campus requires a greater sense of independence and forces you to be more budget-conscious, I am so happy I decided to move off campus.
Despite its many downfalls, Hubbard will always hold a special place in my heart — just don’t expect me to be visiting there anytime soon.
Anthony Herta is an intern at The State News. Reach him at email@example.com.