Embracing the Uncomfortable

Cindy Chang

We’ve been here 3 days now, and the housing process is fully under way.  What does that mean? Cue the panic and the sizing up.  Everybody has been milling around trying to figure out who they want to live with and potentially room with.  Interestingly enough, it seems like people are mainly sticking within school groups.  Friends are living with friends, which means I’ll probably be living with quite a few other Whitman students.  I thought I wouldn’t want to do that, but I’m surprisingly okay with this.  I don’t know any of the other students on the program super well (I’ve hung out with a few of them several times and hadn’t spoken with others at all before this), so it would be awesome to get to know them more.  They’re all incredibly amazing people, as I’m rapidly discovering,and they’re all looking within the price range that I want.  I’m excited to find a house, get settled, and for the semester to begin!  It was a little overwhelming this morning when all the housing information was handed out and we took the housing tours.  TPC has some house viewings set up, but there’s only about 10.  When the staff handed out the house viewing list, you could see people look at the list, look at the other 70 people in the room, and then feel the panic level in the room rise.  I told myself I wouldn’t panic, and I wasn’t quite at that point, but I was definitely a little stressed out.  Based on my housing experience in Walla Walla I know that it can be difficult to deal with landlords, find a housing group who all wants the same thing, find a house with the right number of bedrooms, appliances, and at the right price.  I’m a very type-A person, where I like to know what I’m doing, where I’m going, and have my entire day planned 24 hours in advance.  I mean, sometimes I get stressed out when I make dinner plans merely 2 or 3 hours in advance.  I don’t deal with uncertainty very well.  Then I remembered a piece of advice that one of the TPC gave us: “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable”.  That’s where all the learning and growing happens.  I guess I’m getting my first taste of that, and trying to tell myself that it’s okay.  I’m trying to trust the process and know that I will have housing by the end of the week.

So far, a group and I have looked at some apartments in center city that were rather pricy.  We figured out that we could probably squeeze 6 people into a 2 bedroom as a last resort…it’d be a cozy apartment!  We also looked at a place in Chinatown which was above some shops, but it was rather run down and also rather expensive.  However, we discovered some TPC love!

A note left to the next residents from former TPC students! It almost made the place worth living in. 😉

After dinner we scoured Craigslist for housing leads, and found quite a few places.  We’d have to fit more than one person in one bedroom, but the rent is affordable.  It’s just a matter of convincing the landlords to accept a short term lease and to allow roommates (and a matter of finding those roommates!).  Tomorrow we’re going to check out some TPC houses in north and west Philly-hopefully something pans out.  Wish us luck!