Glued to a swivel chair, I vigorously flipped through stacks of papers hammering out scribbles that faintly resembled my name wherever an “x” lied, barely even glancing at the fine print. A quick glimpse at my friends revealed they were facing a similar stress and I watched as they furiously tackled the endless documents. Clenching my jaw, I anxiously tapped my feet against the legs of the table. The utterance of a half-hearted, “Sorry to rush you girls, but there’s only one room left” interrupted the tension in the air.
Drexel pressures students into finding housing far too early. My roommates and I were sick of the constant emails from Chestnut Square, University Crossings and the Summit, so we decided to look at housing in early November last year, less than two months after we moved into Drexel. We took a casual walk to Chestnut Square, hoping for a simple tour and a mere sheet of paper summarizing the housing plans, but right then and there we were told we had to sign the lease that night or else we could not get housing together. We wanted a specific floor plan and we were told that type was in high demand and that’s why we were being rushed.
Since we would be second-year students, we had to live in university-affiliated housing and therefore, were rather limited in our options. Panicked, we agreed, fearing that if we did not act in that moment that we would not have a place to live the following year.
Naturally, I did not have the several hundred dollars they wanted that night to “secure” my housing just laying around in my wallet, so I was allowed to come back the next morning with the money as a “courtesy” from them. How thoughtful.
As I handed in the payment and the completed forms, I was overcome with relief. I was glad everyone in leasing was so helpful and I was thankful to get the “last” room. For once in my life, I felt lucky since I got to that floor plan at exactly the right time.
About a month later, I realized I wasn’t lucky at all when I got an email from Chestnut Square talking about all the different options available for the 2016-2017 year. The type my friends and I had chosen was listed as an option. We had not gotten the last room. We were rushed for no reason at all.
Though I had been warned of exaggerating leasing agents, I still felt betrayed. We were taken advantage of that night since it was clear we had no experience with leases or apartments or anything of that realm. My stomach still turns when I think about the smirk plastered on the agent’s face as the four of us walked away, committed to Chestnut Square.
We have felt uneasy about the living arrangements for several months now and the only aspect that has made us feel better about our impulsive decision is how we were promised to have a breathtaking view on a higher level of the building. A few days ago, Chestnut Square emailed us our room numbers. We’re on the second floor. Angered, we immediately called them and were told that our specific floor plan was only on the bottom levels. There was absolutely no way they could move us up, even if they wanted to.
We were guaranteed something that doesn’t even exist. We committed immediately due to the promise of a good view and now our only view will be of the concrete sides of surrounding buildings or maybe the garbage premises if we’re lucky.
When marketing a place for someone to live, it’s okay to focus on only the best features and to stay away from the negative ones, but it’s not okay to outright lie. More importantly, it’s important not to pressure someone.
Since second-year students must continue to reside in on-campus housing, all of the housing options will fill up no matter what, so there is no need to pressure students into signing for something right away. At the end of the day, they’ll have the same amount of money in their pockets, so what is the point?
My friends and I were rushed to commit to housing when we hadn’t even fully moved into our first year at North Hall. Not only were we rushed, but we were lied to. It’s safe to say that my living arrangements for sophomore year at Chestnut Square will be Square.