The College Cheapskate: Settling In

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Kathryn Bogle

Day 28 without internet. I have yet to get a couch, my roommate may have a
dead rat in her wall, and we are afraid to use the garbage disposal because we (may
have) dropped a spoon into it. I wake up stiff every morning, and I have
resorted to couponing to buy all my groceries. I do my best to keep a mental
reminder to unplug everything when not in use to save money on the electric
bill. I want to challenge the stigma that the life of a college student is a
blur of parties and freedom; the life I have experienced, one month into
adulthood, consists of unemployment, awkward phone calls, and acting like I
know how to file taxes, and pretending to know the rules of a credit card.

Free doesn’t always mean easy.

My story begins in the small town of Fairfield, located about two hours from
here, where I grew up surrounded by pastures, grazing cows, and barbed-wire
fences. In a town of only 3,000 people, I graduated with the same class I had
gone to school with my entire life, seeing the same faces everywhere I went. I
worked at the local sandwich shop where I became a manager at age 17 and spent
most of my time transitioning from school to work and back again. I became
fairly independent at a young age, striving to learn new ways to provide for
myself and prepare for a life of my own. Knowledgeable of the fact that staying
where I was would get me nowhere, however, I escaped the land of no opportunity
to one where my voice could be heard, leaving everybody behind to move forward,
and in turn, I wound up here. The only word I can use to describe this first
month into adulthood would be… interesting. Certainly not what I expected, but
not terrible either.

Thank God for data plans. I have yet to find an internet plan cheap enough
not to send me over the edge in monthly debt, so I have resorted to trying to
hack the neighbors’ connection, driving to the nearest coffee shop to connect
to their free Wi-Fi, or at the last resort, using my phone’s mobile hotspot to
connect to and finish my homework. A life without the internet would not be
such a struggle for me if everything in this world didn’t revolve around it. I
tried to apply for jobs in person: they told me to go online and apply. I tried
to handwrite my homework papers: my professors told me I had to type and print
every single assignment. I tried to sign up for classes to attend in person:
they made me buy an online code to do most of the work I needed to submit. I
just want to live the simple life of a minimalist, only using what I need, but
that turns out to be more difficult than I imagined. Technology is convenient,
I agree, but what about people without access to it?

The dead rat in my roommate’s wall may or may not be a tripping an
electrical wire. Maybe a rat tried chewing through a wire in the wall,
resulting in what we now know as dead-fried rat. That theory is not too
irrational, and her half of the house smells like death being cooked.
Maintenance has yet to contact us, so we are basically sitting ducks.
Hopefully, they decide to get here soon.

Adulthood is certainly an adventure. A weird, random, hit-and-miss
adventure. Let’s see where this goes.

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