Tech is revered as the pinnacle of engineering in the Southeast and one of the best engineering schools in the country. It provides increasingly challenging academics that students must overcome to summit this great, scholastic peak. However, this towering mountain is located in midtown, making finding affordable housing just as challenging as the academics.
I am not from a wealthy household and recently, my parents became financially incapable of supporting me, especially for living arrangements. On campus housing is incredibly high so I shifted my search for off campus housing, more specifically Home Park.
Now if you are like me, you have heard that Home Park is not exactly the safest place to live. Rumors involving crime get dramatically hyperbolized, essentially vilifying the neighborhood. But after living here in Home Park for over a year, I know those rumors are very wrong. It is a swirling hodgepodge of architectural and cultural diversity, from the western bungalows of the 1920s juxtaposed to the postmodern houses of today’s market to an international gamer living with a good ole southern boy from middle Georgia.
My choices of housing were endless. Do I choose the four bedroom that had just been remodeled? Or do I choose the three bedroom on a quiet street near Antico’s? The answer is neither. I went with the slowly decaying, rat-infested, poorly insulated house on Hemphill Avenue, arguably the busiest and loudest street in Home Park. I chose it for one simple reason, it was being rented out by the room, close to campus, two houses down from Rocky and most importantly: it was cheap.
All eight of us had never met each other until we were all gathered around a strangely placed table staring at the lease agreement. As soon as I lifted the pen from writing my signature, I began a life-changing adventure with these seven other strangers. This adventure helped me develop these rules.
Rule number one: if you paid for it, keep it in your room. If you are living in Home Park, chances are that you are trying to save a penny. This means there that there will always be a freeloader lurking in the shadows of someone else’s tv, waiting to use your garlic powder or watch questionable shows on your Netflix account.
Rule number two: do not let the location go to your head. Right outside of our door is the beautiful west midtown where some of the upper echelon shop and spend their Saturdays at. Here you can get lost in the $10 beers and the $7 ice cream scoops, tricking yourself up onto a high horse, believing that you ARE the upper echelon. Do not forget you had to borrow a pack of ramen noodles yesterday and you caught a rat munching on an avocado in your kitchen last week.
Rule number three: you are living with seven other people. If you think you can reserve the entire house for your convenience, you better submit a work order and hope we get back to you in 5-7 business days with our number.
Rule number four: turn. The.Lights. Off. For God’s sakes, turn the lights off. If not for the electric bill, do it for the environment.
Rule number five: Communication. In a household of eight, clear communication is key to surviving this hostile environment. Silent fights over the thermostat or a shelf in the fridge solves nothing.
Rule number six, the most important rule: be open minded. Here at Tech, we have a rare opportunity to experience a vast amount of diversity in a small space, and in my house, it is no different. We have an eclectic mix of cultures, races, political views and ways of life under this roof that are constantly mixing and colliding, providing incredible learning experiences, if you are open to it. Without this last rule, I would not have been able to form the close bonds I have with my roommates or make the memories of the adventures we have had.