It’s that time of year. You may have somehow turned into a graduate student, or you may have (more likely) been ejected into this so-called “real world.” Not all of us get access to our trust funds early enough to buy a decent place out of college. Either way, this is going to be the first time that you have had to hunt down housing arrangements in an area where they were not readily available for your demographic, where you don’t know anyone to room with, and where you have to pay your own rent on your 40k annual entry level job. Here are a few of the options I have found:
Your Parents’ House
This is going to be your go-to for any victims of the current job market, given the only cost of rent is your dignity. Initially, this is going to seem like a good idea. You have lived there for 22 years or so already. The accomodations are familiar and luxurious, groceries are provided, and there’s none of the soul-sucking process of touring rentals. The reality is that now that you have graduated and are either underemployed or unemployed, meaning your
parents new roommates will see to it that you work 40 hours a week being their bitch. Also, unless, like my sister, you assume Dad’s willful ignorance means he doesn’t know what’s going on, you also are going to have to make some sort of sacrifice of your social life. It’s going to become increasingly difficult to engage in any sort of anything into the wee hours of the night, and illiciting substances (illegal or otherwise) is going to come with consequences. Also, after a week in your parents’ house, even if it’s just to take a quick break before heading off to your new city, you are going to view razor blades with the same lust that a 13 year-old fan of My Chemical Romance (ca. 2003) with a xanga and a permanently dour expression does. It’s not a great plan.
Apartment in Your Home Town
Should you have found employment in your home town, you will find yourself searching for that great “starter place” that real estate agents so enjoy labeling certain types of rental. I’m sure you will go into this with as much of an open mind as is possible for a person who has lived in the city for an extended period of time. There are really only a couple areas where you absolutely would not live, and you won’t be so unrealistic as to assume you can afford a place in the neighborhood you grew up in. That’s what you will say around week 2. Circa week 4, you will find yourself trying to convince your family that people don’t REALLY get shot in the complex where you signed a lease, it’s just not a great idea to walk around at night. Isn’t that true anywhere though? (Except literally everywhere you have lived until now.) Alternatively, you might locate a place on the right side of the tracks, in which case you can start playing the fun “which modern household appliance I don’t really need” game. I have absolutely, at one point, had to be talked out of renting a place with no central air conditioning, dishwasher, or any type of laundry facility on the entire property. I have done a lot of things my 15 year old self would not have approved of, but being on a first name basis with the closing shift attendant at the ghetto coin-op laundry place is probably one of the least believable.
Apartment in a Big City
This is probably the most popular option for your average TFM/TSM reader, who naturally has an 85k starting salary locked down in Manhattan as an entry level investment analyst. You will think you’re making a lot of money, which is of course the reason for packing up and moving all that ways to begin with, but the rent monster is merciless to our demographic. Your initial vision of a cute one bedroom on top of an art gallery will quickly be modified into a “studio” in which you eat, sleep, and “relax” on the same piece of furniture (not that you will have any time to hang out and watch pay per view anyway). There is also the ever-popular option of commuting about half an hour more than you had envisioned; a concept that is familiar to just about anyone who has lived in the suburbs. You can also live in Chinatown. If your school had an academic reputation at all, sheltered foreigners found it with a quick google search, so the sights, sounds, and smells will just take you back to freshman year when you would call your mom in tears because you literally had no idea why an entire family was living in room 305 for five days or how they could cause the entire hallway to smell like a type of seafood that you have neither desire nor ability to identify.
Travel or some Shit
I am honest to God shocked by the number of my acquaintances who are headed off to some far-flung corner of the planet for a few months or a year rather than immediately becoming a real person. Of course, as a sorority woman, philanthropy will be something that has been near and dear to your heart, but I’ll go ahead and be the heartless bitch who genuinely could not envision herself living with nomadic yak herders in central Asia in order to vaccinate the children against polio. I mean, it was literally a paragraph and a half ago that I lamented coin op laundry, and I am pretty sure that these programs just have you in the same clothes for a solid week at a time. Hey, at least that is an acceptable place to wear the shack shirt from the questionable fraternity where you whipped a kid into having you stay over just to kiss and cuddle for multiple nights. (I know I’m going to hell, save your griping, I have the seats around me booked up with some pretty awesome people right now so I’m not concerned.) Other examples here include working on a dude ranch or as a waitress in rural France and the like. I’d judge you for avoiding the real world, but I have literally done nothing for my future so far other than viciously make out with and subsequently confuse a 34 year old who now seems interested in a serious relationship. Needless to say, that’s not real-life, and it’s not even a back-up to real-life.
Unfortunately, you probably won’t be headed to a place where you have friends who you can room with. Your pledge class will be scattered all over the country most likely, and if you end up in your home town, the percentage of friends from high school who are both back to live there and not complete wastes of human beings is so small that your options won’t be much better. If you can find a suitable roomie in your chosen location, by all means go with that. You will be able to afford a place that meets local health codes and is located in an area you won’t be afraid to admit you live in. Unlike in college, this isn’t standard practice, so be prepared for the other party to be a little strange and thus in the position you now find yourself. Check your local craigslist ads for solid entertainment and a sampling of the real bottom of the barrel candidates here. No, I will not be OK with your exotic reptiles taking up half the living room, nor do I want to live with an unemployed single mother who is younger than I am.
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