Apartment Living: Expectations vs. Reality

Before move-in day, apartment hunters have expectations about how apartment living will be, and the reality is often times very different. When we watch movies, read books, and scroll through photographs on social media, we often see the fun, nice-looking side of living in an apartment. I know I certainly did. I thought apartment living would be fun, carefree, and worry-free. It turns out, however, that apartment life can be a lot different than we may imagine.

All of the things I learned while living in my first apartment revolve around compromise. I compromised going out to dinner a few times when my electricity bill was high. I compromised style to purchase furniture I could afford. With a little compromise, you, too, can have a great apartment experience.

Here are some things I’ve learned so far about apartment living.

Three young female students chattingExpectation: I’ll be friend with my neighbors.

Reality: I never met any of my neighbors, much less became friends with them.

On move-in day at my first apartment, I smiled at two of my neighbors as they exited our apartment building. After that, I don’t think I ever saw them either coming or going. Even though we all lived in very close proximity, I didn’t have much time to make friends with my neighbors. I had school, and they had school and/or work, so we never had much opportunity to become friends.

Frustrated Young Couple With BillsExpectation: Paying rent will be easy.

Reality: Paying rent on time every month can sometimes be really hard.

Whether you’re in school or have a full-time job, some months are harder than others when it comes to finances. During winter or summer months, your electricity bill usually runs higher because you’re using more heat and/or air conditioning, which costs you more money. Some months, you may have a medical emergency and have to spend most of your money for medical bills. Paying your rent on time is very important, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.

problem roommatesExpectation: Living with roommates will be fun.

Reality: Living with roommates is a huge adjustment.

Everyone is different, which means living with roommates takes compromise and adjustments. Your roommates may stay up late, while you have to wake early. Your roommates may like a quiet apartment, while you like to have guests over. Whatever the situation, living with roommates can be fun, but you must be open-minded and willing to compromise.

Expectation: Furnishing my apartment will be fun and I can do it on a tight budget.

Reality: Furnishing an apartment can get expensive and requires many compromises.

While selecting a couch or art work for your walls is often exciting, it’s not always affordable. Sometimes, instead of buying the things you like best, you have to choose things you can afford. You may want a new couch for your new apartment, but the one you love costs too much. Instead, you can buy a used couch and a new cover to make the couch match your style. Like living with roommates, furnishing an apartment requires comprise to ensure you can afford the things you need.

Tired sleepless womanExpectation: My apartment will be a quiet haven after school or work.

Reality: It will sometimes sound like elephants live in the apartment next to yours.

In my first apartment, I lived on the second floor, so other people lived above, beside, and below me. Every night, the people living above me exercised, which can get quite loud when it sounds like they’re jumping rope or doing jumping jacks. The people who lived beside my apartment often came in after midnight, and they always shut their door loudly, which woke me up almost every night. It wasn’t always quiet in my apartment building, and I often was awakened by loud neighbors, which is something you, too, may learn rather quickly.

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Kalee Cowan is a graduate of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Rural Studies: Writing and Communication. She is a writer, a baker, and a customer service representative for an insurance agency in her South Georgia hometown. When she is not working, she is attending concerts, reading an always growing list of books, and spending time with her family. You can find her on Instagram and Pinterest.

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