Thursday, February 18, 2010

Off-Campus living: Going from the easy living Brick to crazy living at Four Park Street

For two years, I lived in the Brick, mostly by myself after two roommates left. It was awesome; all I had to worry about was going to class and laundry. By the end of my junior year, I decided to move out of the dorms off campus with my two best friends, Martin and Tom. I figured after my bad luck with living with girls, how bad could boys be? After being wait-listed, we finally were accepted to live in one of the nicest places we’d seen, Four Park Street. Little to my surprise did I know what I was in for.

Four Park Street is a little yellow house next to Kruson and across the street from the Saxon Inn, in the town of Alfred, New York. Little is known about the history of the house, but for years its been rented to Alfred University students through Lang Agency.

I was really excited to live in such a cute house, with Martin and Tom who was now my boyfriend. The best thing about the house is it’s both on campus and off at the same time. It’s a 5 to 10 minute walk to most of the important places such as classroom buildings and Main Street. Also, the house is only a three-minute drive from the Bromeley- Daggett Equestrian Center. (If you can, take Draft horses, it was such a fun class) Originally a one family home, the wooden house was eventually made into two apartments with a basement and attic. Each apartment has a kitchen, a bathroom, two bedrooms and a living room. Both apartment renters share the driveway. The downstairs apartment is more finished, has a huge deck, and is bigger then the upstairs. The upstairs has a sweet side porch with a barbeque and use of the washer and dryer in the basement. The back of the house looks down at the Kanakadea stream that runs through Alfred, and is nice to look at in the mornings while drinking some warm tea. There’s a litter of cats that lives behind our house under the deck and a skunk that lives under front porch. During the winter you can see little footprints in the snow, its really cute except when they rip open our garbage looking for food. Late at night, we can spot deer from the windows, in groups of three or more.

One day while exploring the basement I discover lost art forgotten by many art students lived at this house. There are countless plaster molds, paintings and clay sculptures. We transformed the basement into a studio space Fall 09'. Both Martin and Tom use the basement to make their anti-art works, in both metal and clay. Martin wraps clay in paper and shoots it asking the question; can violence be beautiful? While Tom is also known for shooting his work, he is know for his metal work which was sent to a gallery in Albany this January 10’. I’m currently working on my senior show installation. Working in my own comfortable space has really sparked my creative side. I feel like so much creative juice was left here from previous art students, it’s helped me in my journey as an artist.

Since the house is rented to new people every year, not a lot of money has gone into fixing the place up. The walls are stained with water damage, but I cover them with artwork and posters. The apartment is always cold and the water takes a while to heat up. I hate being cold. The apartments are both lightly furnished; renters must get their own beds and living room furniture. A lot of furniture was found or bought by the boys before I even got there. I spent my summer looking for mattress that was cheap yet comfortable; I went crazy over this mattress. I finally got one from Wal-Mart that came 4 weeks after school started. I was sleeping on the living room floor until if came. The box spring I bought broke after two weeks and I had to resort to getting a hand-me-down one at the Salvation Army. It seemed living off campus was not as great as I though.

I found out to live in an off-campus house one has a lot of growing up to do. From studying, writing papers, reading art history books, studying for tests, making work for two studios, to doing laundry, cooking and cleaning after 2 boys who couldn’t care less about whether or not mold is growing on dirty dishes, or the garbage overflowing to the floor. I am also working a job to pay the rent and bills, keeping up with and putting gas in my car, food, and stuff you’d never think of living on your own like toilet paper and hand soap or forgetting to put the garbage out.

After living in the dorms I thought living on my own would be a piece of cake. I really wasn’t prepared for what was in-store for me when I left the dorms. I’m constantly sick from being cold. I really took for granted what is really offered in the dorms. I crave clean bathrooms, heat, and quite. This has put stress on me and my relationships with both Martin and Tom.

Before living off campus, you should really take into consideration every little detail of what one must do to not only keep up with your work but the things you have to do to keep up with a rented house life. That said I would do it all again because it’s prepared me for the future when I move out of my parents house and go out on my own.

Side-note: The house is omitted from the Alfred University map because it is not university owned. I feel like it should be included because it’s a beautiful house and because it has a personality not only in the way if looks but the people who have lived here during the years really show the true colors of art and Alfred.

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