Over the course of the summer, I have been staying in the Courtyard Apartments, near the University of Michigan North Campus area. I am relatively familiar with the area already, but, my new lifestyle is what is so different. Usually, I would return home for summer vacation with my brother, both of us spending time with family and working with local organizations to save money for the upcoming school year. This time however, I am staying in Ann Arbor on my own! Not only am I staying alone, but I am purchasing my own food, paying my own rent, and keeping track of my own utility bills as well! I am living the beginner’s definition of adult life to the fullest extent! This was virtually unheard of before now as my parents would always ask both my brother and I to come home. They seldom get to see us during the school year. After informing them of my internship position and it’s location, I was delighted at how understanding and supportive they both were. I have always wanted a chance to live on my own, and this is it! In spite of my excitement, however, I was still pretty scared at first; I had no idea what living on my own would intel. My first few weeks were a pleasant surprise.
When considering the long months that I would be spending away from home, I began to have chilling thoughts. “ I don’t own a car; how will I get to work everyday? How will I pay my rent and how will I know when the bill is released? When and where will I get food to last the whole summer?” These are only a few of the questions that went through my head as I finished unpacking in my new apartment room. To my surprise, these problems would be solved sooner than expected. On my first day of work, I took an “Uber” to the designated location. Near the end of the intern orientation presentation, one of the speakers confirmed that a carpool system would be set up to accommodate those without their own means of transportation. I could feel a heavy veil of concern lift from the room as this was announced; others were concerned about this, too. Thus far, the carpool system has not only allowed me to arrive at work on time on a regular basis, but it has enabled me to meet a number of other coworkers as well. With the question of transportation out of the way, then came my concerns about rent.
Upon returning to the apartment complex, I made an immediate visit to the main office. There, I expressed my doubts to a worker at the front desk. They then reassuringly sat me down and explained that the rent amount and due dates would be sent via email and that payments could be made online. This information gave me a sense of relief as well as independence. I realized that I would be paying for my own living expenses but in an relatively easy-to-follow manner. Payments were to be made at the beginning of each month, so I began to look out for notifications and answered them accordingly. Next came the issue of food and how I would acquire it over the months.
Thinking back to my days of living on North Campus during the school year, I quickly realized that the nearest grocery store was Kroger. This was a slight relief, but the question remained of how I would get there and back whenever I needed to buy something. Luckily, not too long afterward, I realized that the “Northwood” buses were still in service for the duration of the summer. This would enable me to go to the store and back without wasting a great amount of time and energy. Thus far, I have traveled to Kroger for most of my food based needs, but I have also begun shopping at the Walgreens on Central Campus for cosmetic and snack items. Overall, living alone has not been as hard as I thought it would be. At times, I get home sick, but my family continually reminds me that I can always take the mega bus home on weekends to spend time with them. With this in my, along with my newly found independence, I look forward to the rest of this summer with optimism. This is big step towards true adulthood, but a pretty fun one at that!