This week’s Blog was going to be about saving money, but some unforeseen events occurred…
Wednesday night, I stayed out a bit later for the first time in months. I was having a pretty good day, and as I stepped off the train to make my chilly walk home, I didn’t even bother putting my headphones in. I wanted to be in that moment and enjoy the crisp night. It seems to be the flaw or an adaptation in evolution that when you finally reach peace, a few moments later the hair on the back of your neck stands up, prepared for the inevitable fall from being content. On this night however, I managed to successfully squelch these uneasy emotions! That is until, I saw the lights on in my apartment from across the street as I approached. I had been alone in that apartment for weeks and my roommate was due back until Friday. So obviously I had two options: She came back early. Or someone was in my apartment and they were stealing things, and had a weapon, and they were going to hurt me.
(Where your mind jumps to when you consistently watch SVU and Criminal Minds is obviously the ladder).
Upon entering my apartment it was empty, but there were no initial signs of disruption, I called my roommates to make sure they hadn’t come back. Realizing neither one was back in town, I immediately called my Mom and went into a panic attack.
Now the most important things to remember when you are having a panic attack are to:
breath, hold onto something solid, and remind yourself that you are not hurt and that you are safe.
I called the police and they came by and inspected. But the strangest thing about burglary was that the only things that were taken were some costume jewelry and some change. A lot of things were left and I am so grateful for that. (The Tequila was still there) However, it also makes it more terrifying because they might try to come back.
As a student renter it seems like there really isn’t much for me to do to protect myself from these things. My roommates and I are going to make our Landlord change the locks and some other things. But what are my other options? What if my Landlord doesn’t agree to do the work? Well I decided to do some research, and share the information with you, so that if you are a student you know your options.
On an initial search all I came up with were really simplified lists that say things like “Don’t Panic” and “Rent a safe apartment,” “pass up the first floor” so basically the opposite of helpful for a student with few options.
Is it for you? Well if you’re on a budget I would understand why you would pass this up. I don’t want to pay for “what if” scenarios, but there’s a peace of mind it can give you and maybe that’s worth the little extra cash.
Pretty much all of the big name and small name insurance companies offer renter’s insurance.
The Boston Housing Authority will not help you unless you live in subsidized housing. The Department of Neighborhood Development is one of the best resources. The provide a useful list of facts students need to know. The Good Neighbor Handbook is a great resource for any questions you might have.
My landlord has appeased our requests for more safety measures. However if yours does not these are your options:
- The Boston Rental Housing Center (#10) has a number you can call if you need a mediator for a dispute between you and your landlord. It is free.
- You can have your apartment inspected, to ensure that everything is up-to-code. This will put a little pressure on your Landlord.
- You can contact your school’s off-campus housing office for additional support and resources.
- Consider how much longer your lease is and if you want to stay in the apartment. It might not be the right place for you or your peace of mind.
Peace of Mind
Spend the night with friends: Just leave, or get people to come to you. There’s nothing you can do, and staying alone will only make you wallow in fear and grief. So get out. Listen to your favorite song. Have a drink. And remember that the Sun is rising on a New Day. Your Day. Check out my BreakIn Playlist on the left.
Keeping things Tidy: This is just something I noticed when the police were inspecting my apartment. Having a place for everything and everything it it’s place helped my roommates and I figure out what may have been taken or moved.
Don’t Lock Down: I locked every single window and door. Seven Times. I left a light on. I didn’t tell anyone I was home alone. My roommate had a fireproof safe, hidden, in her locked trunk. We did everything we possibly could have to protect ourselves. I can’t stop my life because this happened. I can’t blame myself or anyone. I can’t let the fear control me and neither should you.
You’ll need some Wood: My roommate’s mother gave me this idea, and it’s pretty brilliant. By taking dowels or a 2x2 piece of wood, you can wedge them in between the top part of your window and the top part of your window frame. This will keep anyone from lifting the window from the outside if your locks are not working, or if you have older windows.
Humor: I was trying to find humor in it as quickly as I could when it happened. I wouldn’t have been able to breathe if not. So when I got a Jury Duty notice the next morning I just laughed at how Alanis Morissette could make a whole new verse dedicated to me.