Caution: Grad life not always “pink” (last part)

“Pink” in my culture means beautiful, perfect

I wrote this blog while my roommate was moving in my apartment. The simple task of finding a roommate took me 3.5 months to complete (?!). Among all the  issues I faced so far, housing played the biggest part, both in terms of time and cost.

After arriving in Columbus, I was lucky enough to find a two-bedroom apartment to move in at the 5th day. However, I did not prepare myself for the empty apartment with little furniture and utility. Having no car, no friends in the Columbus at that time, I relied on International Friendship Inc. (http://www.ifiusa.org) and the IFI volunteers to buy heavy furniture such as bed frame, desk, chair table, couch, etc. They even gave me a free dining table and chairs from one of the IFI staff’s house. How thankful I was for the help of people in IFI! I also had to register for electricity, internet service and house insurance. These intensive administrative tasks required time and effort that I hardly extracted from my orientation program at school.

Watch-out: SCAM!

I chose a two-bedroom apartment because I wanted to have someone to keep eyes on me in case of emergency. I posted in an OSU off-campus housing website for roommate searches. I made a mistake in the post that led me to the wrong group of people responding. I lost one month to recognize and correct that error. Right after that, I received a scam email that caused me to hang on to my room for another month to wait for someone who would never come. I received an email asking to share a room with me. The email described in detail about a girl, who was a transfer student in winter quarter and wanted to secure a place before she arrived. She offered to send me a check with whatever amount I asked. Sympathizing with her, I offered her free temporary housing at my house when she arrived, no need to send me a check. She told me that she would come in a month so I secured my apartment for her. Then she asked me to help her to pay the shipping fee of her personal items when they came, which included a car. I agreed to do so but I advised her not to ship her car but buy it here in Columbus.  After that, I did not hear back from her and of course, never saw her. When I told my friend this story, she said that I was lucky to avoid the scam. Apparently, if I had agreed to receive a check, she would have sent me a larger amount and asked me to transfer the extra money to another account. A friend of my friend did so and three days later, the bank confirmed the check was fake, but her money transfer was gone. I did not know what would had have happened if I did not advise her to not ship her car here in advance.

Now, these issues were over. My roommate is moving in my apartment. Hopefully we could get along well with each other 🙂

Lesson 4: Start to find a house as early as possible to secure a place before you arrive. Of course, I do not advise you to sign a lease without seeing it. Instead, you could do research online for on-campus, off-campus housing options, then connect with your friend (or your country student association) to ask for reference and/or room check on your behalf. If you cannot do so, you should arrange the room check schedule with respective landlord/ roommates before your flight. You can ask support from International Friendship Inc. (http://www.ifiusa.org) for temporary housing service for first few days while you check and decide on your housing.

Life is beautiful!

Fall quarter is over now. When looking back, I cannot believe that I am survived from all the up-side-down events I listed in this blog series. Not only survival, I am enjoying the grad life here with friendship, study. I have learned that grad life might not always be “pink”, but if I choose to respond to “bad luck” with positive attitude, it could be.