They don’t clean my bathroom anymore?
Throughout my Vanderbilt career I have truly had some great luck in my housing! Freshman year I lived in Branscomb, (Yes, I am that OLD that I never lived on the Commons). Branscomb is the dorm that is right beside Greek row, has a Munchie Mart in the bottom, a great study lounge, and a fabulously social lobby. I lived in a double room in Lupton House with my wonderful roommate (shout out to Lauren! Woo!). We had hall bathrooms with a few toilets, showers and sinks, which contrary to what you might have heard, I never had to wait in line for once. Our room had cinderblock walls, but those were easily decorated with pictures, posters, and cute signs with quotes on them that we received for high school graduation. All in all, I enjoyed living in a dorm room and having a whole hall filled with fun girls, many of who became my best friends for the next few years.
Our window on the 4th floor faced the fraternity and sorority houses which, advertised by the loud music, allowed me to always know when there was something fun going on at Sigma Chi, Beta, and even down the street at KA no matter what time of day. It seemed that some of the fraternity boys liked to “study” at 4pm on a Thursday with Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” followed by Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel” blasting from their open windows on a beautiful spring day – perfect setting for me to stay in my room studying right? Wrong! I had 2 options: Go outside and play! OR Go away from Greek row to get my work done, and then go play! Let’s just say that sometimes Option 1 won even when it shouldn’t have. No doubt, I still got all my work done and had lots of fun!
Then came sophomore year and guess what? We were back in Branscomb! Luckily we were in a different part of the building, Vaughn House, not facing Greek row so the urge to join the music wasn’t quite as strong and we had a toilet and sink in between our two double rooms, with showers down the hall; this gave us a little bit more privacy but still allowed for socializing in the shower when we were getting ready. I really loved living in a dorm! It allowed me to live with a ton of my close friends all in one place. There was always someone on my hall when I needed to chat about life, needed a snack, needed someone to zip my dress, or needed a change of scenery from my room.
Junior year the 4 of us that wanted to live together were placed back in Branscomb again, and as much as we loved it, we wanted a change of scenery, even if it was another dorm on campus. At the end of the spring semester and into the summer we were working with the Housing Office and learned that they were letting a few juniors off campus. At this time I was in Zambia, Africa working with orphans, another one of our roommates, Elizabeth, was camping in Big Bend, and the other two were at home working at internships. So after they finally got in touch with me and Elizabeth and during our one chance at a phone call we said “Go ahead, find us somewhere to live. We trust you!” When I got home I found out that we had been granted off campus housing (very rare for juniors) and were going to be living on top of a parking deck which was on top of a CVS and Brueggers right beside campus, called Wesley Place. It ended up being great! We were as close to campus as some of the dorms but had a real apartment to live in, along with parking right below our feet. However, this is when my two year education about bills, plumbing, electricity and cleaning began…
For my senior year I am living in a “real person” house off-campus, still within walking distance, but in an actual neighborhood. We do have some fraternity boy neighbors and some grad students who are in the Owen Business School at Vandy, but we also have neighbors who are families and empty-nesters. Since I was the only long-term roommate who was here this summer I became in charge of all of the bills! I deal with rent, Nashville Electric Service, Metro Water Service, the Gas Company, and Comcast. I have a great spreadsheet that keeps track of all of the payments from my roommates and to all of our providers. As much as I miss living on campus in a dorm close to everything and so many people, I feel that this experience really has prepared me well for living on my own after graduation. I am aware of what it costs to live in the “real world” and have learned lots of things regarding house upkeep. Some recent things I have learned include: how to unclog a toilet; how to replace a lightbulb that is way out of my reach; how to call a locksmith when I break my house key in the door; that there is no longer a Vanderbilt employee cleaning my bathroom, I have to do it myself; how to spread salt on an extremely steep and icy driveway so we can get to class; how to use a wooden spoon to manually spin a sink disposal when it is clogged; how to get a mattress and bed frame up a very skinny stairwell; and lastly, how to wear a sweater inside to keep the heating bill down. I feel that I am not ready for how life will be after graduation, it has been a gradual way of allowing me to still have a little amount of responsibility while still in school but also learning the ways of all the real people who are out in the working world!
I hope that you have enjoyed my descriptions of all the places I have lived and have realized that whether in a dorm, an apartment, or a house you will have a great time living with your friends at Vanderbilt and that they are all great options that will teach you important life lessons!