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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

The housing lottery: from riches to rags

Published: March 3, 2006
Section: Opinions

At this time last year, I was singing a very different tune. Very different, indeed. How many different cliches can I use to express this? Bad karma? What goes around comes around? Payback is a bitch? Any of them will do. What am I talking about? It probably isnt too hard to guess. The housing lottery.

Last year I was Little Miss #1002 (thats basically number two, for all the freshmen to whom 1002 sounds awful). One year ago, I was writing in this same newspaper, in this same column about how wonderfully lucky I was, how Id never won anything before, but how stressful it had become. It was too much, having to choose amongst friends who to help and who to leave out, who to take along with me to the air-conditioned palace that is known as Ziv.

I take it all back. It isnt stressful, and if it is, it is the most welcome stress in the world. In typical form, my luck has reversed itself this year. I got one of those scary, nineteenth century date-numbers–1891. It could have been worse, but it also could have been much better.

So what do you do when your hopes for a senior year in the Mods slowly fades to the reality of Grad? It seems funny that those ugly, run-down shacks across the street are the most coveted housing on campus, but they are. It is the best place to be senior year. In a suite with your friends, no meal-plan required and Alwina in-charge, the Mods are one steps closer to independent living, and theres nothing better than living independently with 200 of your closest friends.

Before my best friends left for their semesters abroad in December, we toasted to good luck in the lottery, and parted ways with dreams of reuniting in September in the magnificent squalor of the Mods. Unfortunately, our dreams are quickly fading.
So in the end, it will probably be Grad for my friends and me. Grad certainly has a stigma around here;

I heard someone refer to it the other day as a wasteland. But, being the eternal optimist that I am, I have been slowly warming to the idea. With a little decorating and a lot of cleaning, I think it will work out fine.

Thats the thing about the housing lottery. The initial shock and panic of not being able to get what you want is rough, but once things settle down, everything tends to turn out all right in the end. With a number like 1891, a single in Grad looks like Martha Stewart living to me right now. Maybe it is a lowering of standards, but I like to think of it as a change of plans. And hey, I already used up my share of good luck last year, and apparently, that was all I had coming to me.