Dorm or Apartment? Hand Me My Pen

By Fisher, Donna | The Christian Science Monitor, September 6, 2006 | Go to article overview

Dorm or Apartment? Hand Me My Pen


Fisher, Donna, The Christian Science Monitor


At the end of her freshman year in college, having earned a less- than-stellar GPA, our daughter, Amanda, informed us that living in a dorm was too distracting. Her solution to the dorm problem: an apartment. She had already found the perfect one, a loft in an upscale building about 10 minutes from campus.

Along with her mediocre grades, she had acquired a taste for partying and what her parents felt was a mediocre boyfriend. I suspected her grades had been a product of the "information osmosis" study method: sleeping from 3 a.m. until noon with books and notes under the pillow.

Predicting disaster, I voted against the apartment plan. I pointed out that had her head not been permanently affixed to her neck, she would have lost it long ago. A prime example: On her previous two visits home, she had started back to school without her computer. I ranted that putting her in an apartment was inviting condemnation by the board of health or eviction for throwing wild parties.

Since she had barely performed in the semistructured atmosphere of the dorm, she would surely self-destruct unsupervised in an apartment.

But my husband, Sam, saw it differently: "She'll learn to be responsible," he said.

He saw an apartment as the end of her moving the flotsam and jetsam of her life back home each year, rendering the basement and attic inaccessible for two months, before she packed it back into a borrowed van and dragged it up four flights of congested stairs on, no doubt, the hottest day of Indian summer. He also had unflagging faith that this child wanted to turn her life around.

I lost the argument, as I usually do when father and daughter join forces.

My name is on the lease and the utilities. I've been to the apartment four times - once to sign for high-speed Internet, twice for transport of furniture and other household goods, and once for an initial run to the grocery store on my tab.

My daughter's sophomore year has come and gone. As leaseholder on her apartment, I have not yet been served with an eviction notice or dunned for nonpayment of bills.

For the summer she had a paying internship with the government and a job working as a cashier on the weekends. …

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