Spring Break and My Ongoing Housing Crisis

I feel like I start nearly every post I make with an apology about how long it’s taken me to write to you. For that, again, I apologize. It seems like, no matter how many blog ideas I have, I fail to make them happen because I’m too busy trying to survive.

In this post, we’re going to talk about housing (yes, again), spring break, my potential web design business, and I’ll give you a quick update on how my classes are going.

Actually, let’s start with classes. I’ve gotten two of my midterm grades back, and I managed to slide through with two B’s (you’d be surprised at how much effort getting each of those took). I’m slightly disappointed because I really want to make Dean’s List this year, but my family helped me laugh it off and accept the fact that B’s in college are not an acceptable reason to lose my head. Not to mention that there are still finals looming in a few short weeks, and I’ll be able to make my final impression with those.

Other than the grades, I really am enjoying my lectures. Though they aren’t as interactive as my courses last semester, they’re definitely giving me the opportunity to multi-task and get additional work done in class. However, if I have to read one more novel in the span of a week (sometimes five days), I might cry. I might actually cry.

I haven’t given you a two-minute update in weeks, either. I wish I could say this blog is easy to keep up with, but the truth of it is, I’m trying hard to stay on my toes and update often. I think several quality posts throughout a month are more significant than dozens of short posts, and I’m sticking to that. There will never be a time when I don’t want to write to you. There just may be a time when it gets a little easier for me to sit down and finish.

Alright, spring break. I’ll keep this as brief as possible.

The bus ride home and the bus ride back were both terrible. Absolutely terrible. On the way home, I was stuck in Cleveland for nearly two extra hours, and I must have transferred vehicles in Michigan four times before finally arriving home. Luckily, when I got there, I was met promptly by Austin with a ring and roses, which brightened my break, even if I was exhausted.

I spent my week and a half with him and my family, for the most part. On my last Friday, I was able to visit with Dawn and Ani, whom I miss very, very much. And, honestly, the whole break felt like a bittersweet taste of summer. I’ve probably never had so much difficulty leaving to come back to Manhattan. I’m still getting over it.

But it’s more of a dull ache of homesickness now than a giant decision to pack-up and go home. I’ve decided that being so far away from the people I love is just something I have to deal with for the time being. It’s only a limited amount of time, and then I can walk away with my NYU degree in hand.

My potential web design business is something my dad, Austin, and I have discussed. The idea is to basically provide web design services for small businesses who are usually taken advantage of in the corporate world of the web. Did you know that you can make a website for free without even hiring help? It might require a few hours of your time, but it’s possible. Creating Misadventures cost me nothing (the URL, however, is a different story).

Some companies pay hundreds of dollars a year to host and maintain their website. We would offer the same services, including content design and interviews with the managers/owners, for only $99 a year. This is nearly $600 cheaper than most prominent web design hosts, and it will allow anyone who goes through our business to gain firsthand knowledge about creating their own website.

In other words, the company is meant to help the little people avoid being manipulated by big business.

I promise that wasn’t a plug for business. I just want to share with all of you (and any of you who are looking for web creation), that we are starting business soon. And also, yes, this was just a plug for business. I love you all.

Alright, the crux of my semester. Housing. It seems, whenever I finally figure out what I want to do, another easier and more appealing option comes into play. So I am giving you, my readers, another opportunity to vote on a poll (exciting!).

Here are the two housing options that are now available to me, listed with pros and cons.

 

Brooklyn Housing in Clark

 

Pros:

-80 Meals included + Dining Dollars

-Dining Hall located across the street

-Financially Responsible

-Beautiful Building

-Complimentary Gym Membership

-Located in Brooklyn

-Included Television

-Provided Fridge and Microwave

 

Cons:

-Far From Campus

-MetroCards would need to be purchased monthly for $120

-Room would be shared with 2-3 students

-Communal Kitchens

 

Hotel Housing in Affinia Manhattan

 

Pros:

-Beautiful Building

-Beautiful Rooms

-Located near Midtown

-Housekeeping Twice a Week

-Towels Included

-Bedding Included

-Decor Included

-Dishwasher, Microwave, Cook-Top Included

-Shared only with one additional student

-Financially Reasonable

-Monthly MetroCards Included

-Priority Option for DC Study Away Program in the Spring of 2016

-First Priority for 2016-2017 Housing

-Television Included

-Fitness Center Included

-Breakfast Included

 

Cons

-No Meal Plan

-$500 more expensive than Clark

-Laundry cannot be done with Campus Cash

 

I’m starting to think that there’s no possible way to avoid having a bill at NYU, no matter how hard I work. But there may be a way to make it easier on myself, but relying only on the money I will have on-hand during the semester. I’m really not sure which option to go with, but either one has the potential to leave me with a bill at the end of the day.

I guess we’ll have to wait until the smoke clears.

Stay breathing. Stay happy. And vote below.

-Cassie

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Homeward Bound: Getting Ready for Spring Break

Hello, blogosphere ūüôā

I wanted to introduce you to a couple of new websites before I branch out and tell you about my upcoming trip.

First of all, don’t forget to keep checking culinaryadventureswithkatie.com for updated information about my sister’s experiences in the Culinary Arts program at Schoolcraft in Michigan.

Second of all, it seems the idea of blogging is spreading. A co-worker and friend of mine, Kirby Pate, has started his own blog, called The Kirby T. You can check it out by clicking here.

I also want to formally extend my sincerest apologies for failing to make “Recap” videos the past two weeks. I’ve had a hectic month so far, and I imagine the rest of the school year will follow in much the same fashion.

That being said, I apologize for interrupting your scheduled programming, and we’ll get back to the point of this post: My first trip home for the spring semester.

Assuming I survive two midterms, seven class periods, and fourteen hours of work, I will be on a Greyhound on Wednesday night heading back toward the mitten. I’ll be there for about a week and a half, which will hopefully give me just enough time to do everything and see everyone that I need to.

As an out-of-state college student, visiting home is bittersweet. While I get to enjoy a mostly bearable, semi-relaxing bus ride and I get to see my family, friends, and boyfriend, I also have to find a way to fairly split my time between them and then, in the end, I inevitably have to leave them again.

While I feel better and more comfortable in Manhattan this semester, I’m really looking forward to summer vacation and not worrying about classes 24/7. Academically, I’m doing much better. Socially, I’m doing slightly better. And homesickness-wise, I’m surviving. I know this will change in years to come, and I don’t regret my decision to stay. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t look forward to the time I get to spend in little Howell, Michigan. Especially when I have enough time not to have to constantly think about leaving again.

In preparation for my visit, I’ve spent my night doing laundry, finishing essays, studying for midterms, and cleaning out old clothes, decorations, and academic books. I think I’ll try to smuggle a few things home between this trip and my trip home in April. Otherwise, I’ll never fit it all in one suitcase to go home for the summer.

There is one other thing that I’d like to talk to all of you about. Housing.

I had made my official housing decisions but, last Tuesday, something interesting came up at work. I was browsing the NYU News page, and I stumbled across an article announcing that Brooklyn housing (usually reserved for NYU Poly students) will be open to all students and upperclassmen next year.

Now, I know many of you have concerns about Brooklyn. You may think it’s unsafe, too far away from campus, or promotes an entirely different standard of living. But I have to inform you that Brooklyn is mostly an extension of Manhattan. Moreso than Queens or the Bronx, Brooklyn is the burrough that is being industrialized. The two buildings that I am looking into are safe, sanity, and every bit as beautiful as the dorms in Manhattan. They’re also only a few subway stops away from school.

To add to that, Brooklyn is a safe area. NYU would not have dorms in an area that isn’t. Also, each dorm is only about a block away from a subway station. In saving thousands of dollars of dorming, I would invest about $120 per month on an unlimited subway-access card. This would enable me to go back and forth to campus as often as I wanted, and would actually decrease the amount of on-foot travel I’d have to do. Not to mention, it would open doors to exploring the rest of the city.

I love Brooklyn. If you’ve been following me since my start at NYU, you should know that already. I think Brooklyn is beautiful, a little more normal lifestyle-wise, and a much better fit for me. If I were to get an apartment New York, I would get one there.

It’s also much cheaper, and that’s the real clincher. The dorms in Brooklyn are almost $4,000 cheaper than those in Manhattan. If I make this choice, I won’t have a bill to worry about for next year. I can’t tell you how necessary that is for my continuation of school in New York.

After discovering the opening of Brooklyn dorms to Manhattan students, I also learned that housing¬†prices are increasing. If not for this opportunity, I would be in a serious financial rut. I don’t ever want to be in that position again.

So, for those of you who have concerns, we’re going to have to get through this decision together. Because it’s not so much a decision as a saving grace for me. And I hope you can find it all in your hearts to support me and to continue on this crazy adventure with me.

Love, as always,

Cassie

A Day in the Life of Misadventures: Monday Edition

8:15 am: Alarm goes off. I have it set to the “Friends Theme Song” because is there really a better way to wake up in the morning? Usually I groan, roll over, cover my head with my pillow, and fight to stay in bed for two more minutes.

Then I realize it’s freezing because Mara and I leave our window open a crack at night to make the heat bearable enough to sleep. So I force myself awake, at least enough to get up and shut the window tightly, and then I fall back into bed, convincing myself that five more minutes is an acceptable bargaining chip in exchange for a 16-hour day.

8:25 am: I can no longer put it off, so I tear myself away from my sheets and pull on the clothes that I put out the night before. Sometimes, like this morning, I rip all of those off and put on a sweatshirt instead. I end up regretting this around three in the afternoon, when I’m finally awake enough to think straight.

I do my hair (which inevitably feels dirty, even if I just washed it the night before), apply my “makeup”, and try to shake myself awake. Makeup can’t fix a tired face. Ever.

8:45 am:¬†I’m done getting ready, and I still want to go back to bed. Instead, I leave my apartment-style dorm room and make the “trek” to the dining hall on the other side of the building.

Once there, I almost always get eggs, bacon, and a bagel (my only breakfast the entire week). Then I head back to my room and eat quietly in an attempt not to wake up Mara.

9:15 am:¬†It’s time to push myself out the door again. I pull on my black coat, hike my backpack over my back, and head out into the cold. The freezing cold. And today, the cold¬†wind.¬†

9:30 am: I make it just in time to grab a seat by the wall toward the back of the lecture hall and open up my laptop. My Comparative Politics professor usually arrives just after me and then the lecture starts.

Generally, I spend a good amount of time working on notes, blog posts, and organization. I can’t tell you how nice it is to have a laptop in class. I’m a strong believer in multi-tasking, and being able to listen to a lecture and get other work done is incredibly useful. I wish my morning lectures were two and a half hours long. Because those I could sit through.

10:45 am:¬†The lecture ends and I pack up quickly. Work starts in 15 minutes, and I don’t want to be late for my shift in Circulation. I head back out into the cold as the security guard stands by the door yelling, “Check yourself before you wreck yourself! Make sure you have your hats, coats, gloves, and scarves!”

Inevitably, I smile at him even if I’m grumpy, and leave the building.

11:00 am:¬†Work starts. I usually begin my shift in the Exit Desk (see my story about Bobst if you’re confused about the terminology). Then I end up switching each hour to a different station. I’ll spend about four hours here, break-free.

3:00 pm:¬†Work ends. My first half-an-hour break of the day begins. I cram my things back into my pack and practically run out the door. A block away is the Kimmel Center for University Life (and an amazing dining hall). If I haven’t ordered my food ahead of time, I’m in even more of a hurry to get up the stairs and to the eatery, where I almost always settle for a burger and fries.

I sit down with ten to fifteen minutes to spare and try to wolf down half of my burger (usually successfully). The fries are a lost cause. I’ll never finish them. But the caffeine in the Pepsi that I order is a necessary push for the next few hours.

3:30 pm:¬†After walking around the corner, I swipe in and take a seat in my Investigative Journalism lecture. This is the lecture in which I usually catch up on readings for other classes or update my HayDay game (which I haven’t touched until now). Basically, it’s my moment to breathe. At this point, I’m about halfway through my day.

5:00 pm:¬†I’m more than halfway there. Only two more events and then my day is over. I’m constantly reminding myself that this moment is coming, because I need to be able to see an end; the figurative light at the end of the tunnel.

By 5, I’m probably settled into my American Constitutional Law class, toward the back of the room. My laptop is probably plugged into the wall, and I’m praying no one trips over it as I begin my hardest class of the semester. Two and a half hours will go by before I leave this seat again. I try to think comforting thoughts.

7:30 pm: The class finally over, I stroll confidently outside, inevitably understanding my subject slightly more than when I entered. I walk at a brisk pace to Weinstein, the nearest food court, and somehow manage to find a seat. I check my phone, update my friends and family on my whereabouts, and gulp down a few slices of pizza and, yes Mother, a vegetable of some sort. Paired with a glass or two of milk, I run back out the door and make it to Bobst just in time for work.

8:00 pm:¬†My day is finally winding down as my last shift begins. I’m starting to think about how my week is almost 1/3 of the way over, and how the weekend is nearly in sight. By noon tomorrow, my week will be 1/2 over and I’ll have nothing to fear but the countdown to spring break and lots of homework. And, since the library is usually winding down at the same time, my shift isn’t nearly as busy at night as it was in the early afternoon.

11:00 pm: Time to escape from work. Once again, I pull on my coat and my bag (for the last time today), and head out. Usually, I call Austin, Dawn, or one of my parents to recount the day. Otherwise, I jam my headphones down my ears and blast some kind of pop music. I’m happy. I’m free. And it’s all one step closer to the weekend.

12:00 am: I finally collapse into bed. I set my “Friends Theme Song” alarm for 8:15 am.

And the whole thing starts all over again in the morning.

Phantom, Housing Choices, and Midterms

I know. You’re all wondering where my “Two Minute Recap” video is, and why I haven’t updated in almost a week.

First, I’d like to apologize in advance for my isolation. I’ve been working very hard on my classes for this semester, and I can’t tell you how wonderful spring break sounds to me right now. When you’re enrolled in four reading-based classes, you know you’re in for a long ride.

I’m taking a break from the insane amount of reading I’ve been doing today to write to all of you about some things that have been going on in my life.

My first announcement? I went to see The Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic on Friday with a childhood friend of mine, Evelyn-Rose. She and her mother were in town this weekend because Evelyn-Rose had an audition at Pace University for their directing and theatre program, so they decided to call me up and see if I’d be interested in going which, of course, I was.

After showing them around my dorm so Evelyn-Rose could get an idea of the type of lifestyle at campuses in New York City, we went to eat at Otto Pizzeria near Washington Square Park (a recommendation made by my roommate, Mara). And, I have to say, even though we acted like complete tourists, we had a good time. Until we realized it was almost 7:30 (the show started at 8) and we hadn’t even gotten the check.

We practically ran out after paying and made our way to the nearest subway station. Long story short? We made it to the theatre (after a lot of running in heels) just in time for last call. By the time Evelyn-Rose and I made it to our seats and took in the opening set, the lights had begun to dim.

I wish I had the time, the patience, and the interested audience to launch into a full-detail description of the experience. Unfortunately, I realize that I am not a theatre critic and you, my lovely followers, are not interested in hearing a play-by-play of a show you may never have seen before.

But, for those of you who do have a basic background knowledge of Phantom, let me give you a few brief opinions that I walked away with after the curtains fell at the end of the show; just in case any of you decide to purchase tickets to see this particular cast.

As a preface, the set, music, props, and effects were, for the most part, amazing and on par. The chandelier rising and falling was incredible (especially from the 5th row), and the make-up and costumes were impressive, even for someone who’s seen the show well over four dozen times (my personal favorite version includes Ramin Karimloo as Phantom, Hadley Fraser as Raoul, and Sierra Boggess as Christine in the 25th Anniversary Version at the Royal Albert Hall).

That being said, I have to be honest. Of the three main characters, for the first time ever, I preferred Raoul to the other two. While the Phantom’s voice was¬†amazing, Raoul was entirely the most likable character. I wasn’t in love with Christine’s voice (maybe because I’m used to Sierra), but I also wasn’t in love with the way her character was portrayed. In my mind, Christine is a lost young woman looking for some kind of guidance and acceptance. I suppose you could even play her off as naive. But the one thing Christine is¬†not?¬†Independent and strong. While I think all women should be, the biggest character flaw in the lead of Phantom is her crushingly apparent willingness to follow someone else rather than make her own decisions.

The woman who played Christine played her off as an independent-minded, frustrated, and even angry character, who almost never interacted with the Phantom unless she was in a “trance” (almost as if her fascination with the Phantom was only through hypnotism and never because of a sense of guilt or pity). This may also have been a director’s decision; it isn’t fair to simply blame the actress.

In the 25th Anniversary version, Hadley Fraser plays Raoul as an almost mean character, who gets very easily frustrated with Christine’s constant fear and neediness. This makes the Phantom all the most likable and, though it makes me angry with Raoul, it also makes my heart burn for the Phantom that much more. However, in this version, Raoul was so likable and the Phantom so utterly unlikable (at least, by the way Christine treated him when in her “right mind”) that the ending was inevitable. The Phantom seemed more like an obstacle to overcome than a serious emotional struggle.

That all being said, there were two moments that I really appreciated. The first was when Christine removed his mask during “I Remember…” (the song after “Music of the Night”). The Phantom was so desperate to cover his face that he literally had one hand shielding himself as he used the other to pitifully army-crawl toward Christine, as which point he began to sing about fear turning into love. When he dared to take his hand away to let her see his face, Christine turned and shielded herself as if she’d been burned. The Phantom then fell to the ground crying and finished his phrase with, “Oh, Christine.”

The second was at the very end of the show. Christine returned to give the Phantom his ring and, as always, he held her hand and sang, “Christine, I love you.” Then Christine ran offstage and back to Raoul. Usually, this is where their interaction ends. Instead, the Phantom continued to say, “I love you”, two or three times in this broken voice, as if he didn’t understand why loving her wasn’t enough to make her stay. I literally just wanted to cry.

And then the show ended. So, despite my misgivings, I really did enjoy myself. It was fun playing detective when certain special effects took place onstage, and it was an amazing overall experience that I wouldn’t trade for any other Broadway production.

Next up? Probably Les Miserables with Ramin Karimloo.

So what else has been going on in my life?

Well, I have to make my housing decisions tonight. I’ve spent so much time pouring over the opinions of my family, friends, and classmates, and I think I’ve finally reached a conclusion. I’ll try to spare you all of the details and reasoning behind my decision, but here are my top three housing choices:

1.) Palladium. It’s familiar, it’s central, and it has everything that I need within the building, including practice rooms with pianos and a dining hall. It’s also only a ten minute walk to campus, is located on the East Side, and offers Choice Housing which, if the application is set up the way I’m hoping it is, will allow me to live on a floor of the building that is both drug and alcohol free.

2.) Coral Towers. It also offers Choice Housing, which is probably going to be my pre-requisite for housing, and it has nice rooms. Not to mention the location is extremely close to where I already am, so I’ll be familiar with the area and close to all of the necessities.

3.) Gramercy Green. I absolutely can’t resist the microwaves, dishwashers, and laundry on every other floor. The location is also extremely close to Times Square, and I’ll be able to take two different buses back and forth to campus for free. If I can’t live in Choice Housing and I can’t live in Palladium, I might as well live in something beautiful.

I’ve also decided not to get a single room and to brave it out. I’ll still most likely be decreasing my meal plan to save money, but I’m going to man-up and share a room. If I’m in Choice Housing, I’ll probably have a quiet roommate. And, since I’ll be leaving (hopefully!) my spring semester to go to DC, I might even be doing my roommate a favor by giving them their own room for a semester.

And, finally, the reason you haven’t gotten a video this weekend: Midterms. I’ve had so much reading, studying, and writing to do that I’ve been in over my head for a few weeks now. On the weekends, I read, read, read, study, study, write, and then die. And that’s pretty much what I’ll be doing tonight. And then the week starts and I get to do it all over again.

But, luckily, I’ll only be doing it for about ten days. Because I get on a bus to go home on March 11th for spring break, and I can’t tell you how beautiful that sounds.