Good, Better, Bice
Why second-year housing offers a gigantic step up from dorm dilemmas
This week’s Cavalier Daily Housing Issue has prompted me to take stock of my new living accommodations. As anyone who read my columns last year may recall, my time in Dillard was not the quaintest. Despite having a room to myself, Dillard generally offered more obstacles than benefits, as any former Goochard resident would indubitably attest.
Upon discovering that I share such residential history with another student, we will both, without fail, exchange the same look of pity and understanding. Proper decorum necessitates this obligatory interchange, for the we are bonded by something more powerful than gender, race or taste: you suffered through a year living in the boonies of the University.
You endured faulty fire alarms malfunctioning at 2 a.m. in the morning. You grinned and bore it upon discovering yet another night of slimy brown lettuce at Runk’s salad bar. You threw your hands into the air, Rocky Balboa style, every time you conquered the six flights of stairs up to your apartment. But I can promise you this, my dear Goochardites: it gets better.
No doubt many of you are currently enjoying the perks and pleasures of off-Grounds housing, be it behind the Corner or down Jefferson Park Avenue. Both of these areas are steps up from first-year housing — though from Dillard’s broken ventilation systems and leaking toilets, there’s really nowhere to go but up.
Rather than relocating myself to either of these off-Ground neighborhoods, however, my suitemates and I decided to give University housing one last chance and applied for second-year housing. Luckily, we found ourselves moving into our number one choice: the beautiful, beguiling, bonny Bice.
Drastic improvements were evident from the second I stepped into the lobby — for lo! Shining only 20 feet away from the main entrance was a sight more precious than fried chicken to a starving man: an elevator. Thanks to this remarkable invention, I no longer need drag myself up six flights of stairs following a 25-minute walk uphill from Central Grounds.
What’s more, access to said elevator sanctions greater interaction with neighbors. There’s only so long you can stand six inches away from someone, staring at a buffet of posters graffitied with phallic symbols, before you’re socially obligated to strike up a conversation, however brief it may be.
Elevator aside, there can be no greater sight to a weary soul than a fully equipped kitchen upon entering one’s apartment door. Last year, I relied solely on a faux-wood paneled microwave from 1998. This year, I have the great pleasure of reaping my meals from an oven, a crockpot, a waffle maker and various other conventional appliances whose presence I hadn’t appreciated until my kitchen-less year in Dillard.
I readily admit that, during the first three weeks or so of my time in Bice, I didn’t give my dear little stove the attention it deserved, preferring to stick with my trusty microwave — this one made in 2012! — for dinner. My nights were a measly medley of Lean Cuisine, Progresso and Captain Crunch, until I finally put my sauté pan to good use.
I now pride myself in developing my culinary capacities. I am a goddess of the kitchen, preparing meals I believe would tempt Gordon Ramsay himself. Just call me Holly Housewife; except I live in an apartment. And I’m single. And my name’s not Holly. But “Laura Apartment-Spinster” just doesn’t have the same ring.
Like every apartment complex, Bice has its downfalls. On any given Saturday night, the elevator smells like an awful amalgam of Macy’s perfume section and Little John’s kitchen; and the thin walls provide me nightly renditions of Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles.” But that’s college, right?
Overall, though, Bice is everything I could wish for in my living accommodations. I’m a 30-second walk to my classes, and a 15-second elevator ride back up to my apartment. I feast on Pollo Romano, Basil Eggplant Curry and Old Bay Flounder most nights. With benefits like these, I can not only can I put Dillard behind me; I can laugh in its pitiful face.
Laura’s column runs biweekly Fridays. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.