Every morning when I wake up and stagger to the bathroom downstairs in my lovely new Cowles apartment, I do so with a great degree of pride and satisfaction. I love the wooden furniture, I love the stairs, I even love the smell. When I walk, cook, lounge, dine, and whine, I do so with the same degree of comfort as I would at my home in Nigeria. I love the novel and the crisp, the new, and the exciting, and my Cowles apartment feels like all that and more! In many ways, I feel privileged to be able to live in such style as the stereotypically poor college student. But who am I to complain?
Though I live in one of the smaller apartments, it is huge compared to the living accommodation I had last year in the dorms. The apartment has a sitting room, a kitchen, a very spacious bathroom, and four bedrooms. Other perks include a TV with cable access, a DVD player, and lots of comfy furniture, perfect for both studying and relaxation. It’s great — I get an off-campus experience without ever having to worry about paying rent or taking out the trash, and I still live close to all the campus hotspots. If I want, I can isolate myself within the four walls of the apartment; but at the same time, I know I can enjoy the comforts of communal living with a quick skip over to visit my friends who live on North Campus.
In addition, the Harris Center is just a stone’s throw from my apartment, which makes weekend activities particularly exciting. On any given weekend night, my suitemates and I can often hear the blaring music emanating from Harris. Some might consider this a negative, but I love it. From the comfort of my apartment, I can gauge the vibe of Harris parties just by listening or by peeking to see if the people hanging outside the entrance look appropriately merry and gleeful. When I’m feeling the vibe, I make the quick trek to Harris to mingle and unwind. When I’m not, I simply indulge myself in one of my favorite guilty pleasures: yet another marathon of America’s Next Top Model on MTV.
Most important, it does not hurt to have the additional attraction of being able to show my apartment off to friends or share it with the rest of campus through forums such as this publication. Thanks to my new accommodation, I have the added privilege of feeling like something of a campus celebrity, just by inviting the rest of the world to “come view my crib.”
Next semester, just before room draw, I intend to ask Grinnell’s housing office if I can live in my apartment again next year. I can’t imagine my senior year without my lovely new living space. I would love to have another year of watching cable TV without the additional stress of having to reserve a hall lounge, of cooking with my suitemates in our very own kitchen, and of checking out the vibe of weekend parties without ever having to get up off the couch.
Nmachi Jidenma '09 is an Economics major from Lagos, Nigeria.