Finding refuge after living in a dump


Last year I lived in a dump. Your feet stuck to the floor, there was a constant flowing river of red solo cups and a puddle of booze on every level. It was a party house, and despite giving my roommates and I one hell of a time, it made it impossible to focus on our schooling.

But the mess of the establishment was not entirely our fault.   

One day I came home to my wall torn down with drywall dust and woodchips covering every piece of clothing I owned. Apparently my landlord thought it would be a great idea to renovate the washroom without any warning; my bedroom next to it must’ve got in the way. I couldn’t sleep for two weeks without waking up in a coughing attack from the dust clouds hovering in the air. This was right in the middle of exam season.

The best was the renovator my landlord decided to hire for his washroom project: a 30-year-old handyman with a backwards cap who often screamed on the phone about coke and hammered away while blasting AC/DC. The asshole had no idea what he was doing and ended up making our washroom “out of order” for the next four months.        

This year my roommates and I moved a few streets down to a modestly-sized apartment. It didn’t take long to realize just how crucial this move was.

At first, I was against it. I loved the idea of living in a house. Little things like having a BBQ in the backyard and owning a front lawn to toss a football around became impossible when living space was restricted to one condensed unit. Beyond that, I liked the idea of having our own individualized turf — our castle (or Hobbit Hole) that’s in small ways different from every other house on the street.

Apartments had always seemed bland; I saw them as duplicated living situations, mass distributed. I didn’t get the appeal — until I moved into one.

There are a few factors of living in an apartment that make for a better university experience. For one, it’s easier to clean up.

My new best friend, the garbage chute, is a key player in stopping our place from turning into a lab experiment gone wrong (three month old salmon — we know all about it). Also, the fact that we all share one common room makes it harder to ignore a growing mess.

We’re not perfectly clean now, but we’re better — at least more hygienic than last year.

Now that I don’t have to worry about one of my walls being torn down in any given moment, I’m willing to spend more time keeping my own room tidy.

Whether from meeting people on your floor or encountering new faces in the elevator, apartments are also great for socialization. When it comes to throwing a party and things getting out of control, it’s easier to change a location across the hall than a few blocks down the street. We can still have a good time, but now it’s easier to recover.

I’m a believer that a cluttered space can lead to a cluttered mind. Moving was a great decision because it allowed us to escape the chaos that was holding us back. The place where you live is more than a nightly return base; it’s a haven that can actually make a difference in your year. The preference of housing and apartments can differ vastly, so wherever you chose to live, it’s important to stay in control.

And if your landlord ever turns your bedroom into a hectic construction zone a few nights before finals, get the hell out of there.

And maybe call a lawyer.

One response to “Finding refuge after living in a dump”

  1. Moishy Goldman Avatar

    “Cleanliness leads to purity” – The Talmud :)

Leave a Reply

Serving the Waterloo campus, The Cord seeks to provide students with relevant, up to date stories. We’re always interested in having more volunteer writers, photographers and graphic designers.