For whatever reason I got to reminiscing about the crappy little apartment I lived in from my senior year in college until I finished my Master’s degree. So now I’m interested in hearing about what other Dopers’ first residences were like. I assume for the vast majority of people it was an apartment, but of course I don’t intend to exclude those who might have lived in a small low cost of living town or rural area, where you might have had a small house, or mobile home, or something like that. So whatever it was, describe the first place you lived that was neither your parents’ house nor a college dorm, and you paid for yourself, at least partially (if you lived with roommates or a romantic partner).
I moved into my first place in the summer of 2002, my senior year of college. I had some money from working as a co-op at a big tech company (like an intern, but you’re treated more like a regular employee) and wanted to move off campus. Being a very introverted person, I didn’t want roommates; I had enough of that living in the dorm. I wanted a place all to myself. So pretty much my criteria were cheap, and close to campus. And did I mention cheap? Found a 1 bedroom for $395/mo, including water. This was in Raleigh, NC, a fairly low cost of living area, but this was very cheap even for there.
The apartment was iirc 450 sq ft. It was basically 2 main rooms, although if you count the bathroom and walk-in closet you could say there were 4 rooms total. The front room had a narrow living area on one side, and a kitchenette on the other. A counter divided the two areas. Since there was no room for an actual dining table, that counter was clearly meant to be the eating area. At the back was a small bedroom, and the aforementioned bathroom and walk-in closet were off the bedroom.
But the most memorable thing about that apartment was there there was literally only one window in the entire apartment. But, you’re probably thinking, there were multiple rooms. That’s right, the bedroom was actually an interior room with no exterior walls. The might make more sense if I describe the building. This was a small complex with 4 identical 1 story buildings. Each building had 8 apartments, 4 on each side. The 4 corner apartments got a window in the bedroom and a window in the living room. The other 4 apartments, the interior ones, only got a window in the living room. In leiu of a window, the bedroom had a cathedral ceiling and a dirty skylight. So at least there was some natural light. In hindsight it would have been a death trap if there were a fire. I’m sure it would never meet modern fire codes, but I assume it was grandfathered in.
The walls were incredibly thin. I could hear my neighbors talk, and watch TV (The guy next door laughed really loudly at King of the Hill), and have sex. And fart. I’m not making that up. I could literally hear my neighbor fart. At the time, I think I just thought that’s what it was like to live in an apartment. Later, after I got better paying jobs and moved to better apartments, I realized that good apartments actually put soundproofing between the units.
The bathroom had no storage whatsoever. The sink was the kind that just attaches to the wall, with no counters and no cabinets. I bought a shelving unit that fit over the toilet so I could have some storage in there.
[Continued in the next post due to length limits]