Apartments In Westwood, Los Angeles

10 Things Your First College Apartment Teaches You That Are Almost As High In Value As Your Rent

Yes, that is a picture of me with two of my roommates and our apartment dog, Plato.

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Since my freshman year at UCLA I've been practically dying to move into an apartment. Craving independence and a little personal space, which were being afforded to me at neither the dorms nor the sorority house, I welcomed an apartment my junior year with open arms.

I won't lie, moving into an apartment has genuinely been so much better (at least for me) than living in the dorms or in the sorority house.

That is not to say it hasn't come with its share of ups and downs. In the first month of living in my first apartment in Westwood, Los Angeles, I've learned the following:

1. Communicate with your roommates about supplies

This could go one of two ways. On one hand, no one buys anything expecting the others to buy pots, pans, trash cans, etc… and all six of you end up sharing one saucepan and a single spatula. On the other hand, every member buys one (or more) of everything and you end with seven pots, 25 plates, 16 spatulas, 300 forks, four toasters… you get the picture.

2. Gather your rent EARLY

The first of the month comes sooner than you'd expect. You feel like you just paid August rent and *BAM* your due for another payment for the month of September. I'd suggest getting your funds in order a week before it's due so you're not scrambling last second for the last hundred dollars.

3. Rules need to be established early on

The luxuries afforded in a dorm and a sorority house (food at the ready, trash taken out, bathrooms cleaned, etc…) really do make a difference in roommate relations. When you move into an apartment there are so many little things you may not have thought were important previously. Everyone grew up in different households and thus had different expectations placed on them regarding cleanliness, noise, taking out the trash, etc… I suggest sitting down with your roommates before moving in and compiling a solid list of rules. It may seem excessive at the time, but you'll be grateful when there's an argument about turning the tv by 3 am.

4. Compromise is key

Again, everyone grew up in a different household, and so everyone has different expectations. All eight, five, even two of you, are not going to see eye to eye on everything. It's important to keep this in mind as you come up with house rules and come into any conflicts. Keep an open mind to each others' perspectives.

5. Communication is an even bigger key

You can't compromise without communication. Communicate generally about apartment related topics. Even more importantly, if something is getting on your nerves you need to communicate this to your roommates before it becomes a bigger issue, continuous animosity create a heavy vibe in such a small space. Likewise, your roommates have the right to tell you if something you're doing is bothering them. It is so crucial not to get defensive in those situations. Everyone's ultimate goal should be to create a comfortable, safe environment for all members.

6. You have two relationships with your roommates: friends and business partners

This one of the harder realizations to come to terms with. Yes, your roommates should be your friends to a certain extent, whether you moved in with your absolute besties or random strangers. Having some sort of friendship or another makes living together much more pleasant. That said, when it comes to the finances, etc of your apartment, you are business partners and everyone should be holding up their end of the deal. Most likely, you've entered into a contractual relationship with your roommates, and such matters should be treated with a certain level of professionalism and respect.

7. You’re going to pay more than you’d like in rent

I'm living in a six girl apartment in a loft room with no door and a bunk bed and I'm still paying nearly a thousand dollars a month in rent (not to mention parking, utilities, and groceries adds another few hundred to that). Westwood was ranked one the most expensive college areas to live in nationwide, and one of the most expensive areas to live in LA. Renters know students practically have to live on/near campus so they jack up the rent even more so than the rent is already jacked up in Los Angeles. You have to go in knowing you're going to be paying excessive amounts for something that is absolutely not going to be worth what it's priced. It's just how it is unless you want to live a few miles off campus

8. You’ll need more storage than you think

Many apartments that are marketed to six people (or however many) people, really should only house 2 or 3. Storage gets filled up fast, invest in more drawers, shelves, a mini fridge, etc...

9. Clean up after yourself, otherwise it gets dirty in the blink of an eye

When your living with multiple people, filth adds up rapidly. If you want the place to be clean everyone has to clean up after themselves ASAP.

10. Cooking for yourself is a pain in the ass, but-oh-so worth it.

It's time consuming and takes thought. It's so much easier to order from postmates. When you cook though, you save money and it's better for your health. You'll be shocked about how much healthier you feel once you start truly cooking for yourself.

Your first apartment living experience has a huge learning curve, but it's totally worth it in the end.

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To The Senior Graduating High School In A Month

"What feels like the end, is often the beginning."
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It wasn’t too long ago that I was in your shoes. Just a little over a year ago, I was the senior that had a month left. One month left in the hometown that I grew up in. One month left with the friends that I didn’t want to leave. One month left in the place that I had called “my school” for the past four years. You are probably thinking the same things I thought whenever it came down to only 30 days left. You’re probably scared, nervous, worried, or anxious. Maybe you’re like me and are dying to get out of high school, ready to start a new chapter. Or maybe you aren’t so ready yet. Maybe you’re wishing for a little more time.

As scary as it is, this month you have left will fly by. You’ll blink and you’ll be standing in your cap and gown, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. You’ll look back on your last four years at your school and wonder why time went by so fast. It’ll be bittersweet. However, trust me when I say that you have so much to look forward to. You are about to begin taking the steps to build your future. You are going to grow and learn so much more than any high school class could teach you. You are going to meet amazing people and accomplish amazing things. So, as scared as you might be, I encourage you to take that first step out of your comfort zone and face this world head on. Chase your dreams and work towards your goals. You are smart. You are brave. You are capable of achieving amazing things. All your life, the lessons you have learned have prepared you for this point in your life. You are more than ready.

There are times when you will feel alone, scared, or confused. There are times when it won’t always be easy. But those are the times when you will shine the most because I know you will work through whatever problems you may face. Don’t think of the bad times as a terrible thing. Use them all as learning experiences. As author Joshua Marine once said, “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

You might think that this is the end. However, it’s not. This is only the beginning. Trust me when I say that the adventures and opportunities you are about to face are nothing compared to high school. Whether you are going to college, going to work, or something else, this is the beginning of your journey called life. It will be exciting, it will be terrifying, but it will all be worth it.

So, as you walk out of your high school for the very last time, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Relax. You’ll always have the memories to look back on from high school. But your time is now, it begins today. Embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1152445/images/o-HIGH-SCHOOL-GRADUATION-facebook.jpg

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10 Pieces Of Advice From My Parents That Have Helped Me Survive This Thing Called Life

I don't like admitting that they're right, but they've helped me through more than they'll ever know.

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As I've entered my 20s and have made it halfway through college, I've learned that life can be hard and challenging at times. Like many kids, when I was growing up, I could care less about what my parent's advice or opinions were. Nine times out of ten, I would do the complete opposite of what they said. Once I got older and actually started listening to their advice and put it into perceptive, I learned that they're right more often than I'd like to admit.

1. Don't take things for granted

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I've learned to cherish what I have because I might not always have it. It's easy to take life itself and many things it involves for granted. They've taught me to take a step back from this crazy life sometimes and be grateful for all that I have.

2. Don't be afraid to put your heart on your sleeve

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My parents have taught me that if you feel something, don't be afraid to say it or embrace it. If you love someone, then tell them. Don't be afraid to put your heart out there just because you might get hurt.

3. Be vulnerable

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In life, in relationships, in your work. Take risks, get shot down, and then try again. Being vulnerable is scary yet so powerful.

4. You can never have too many shoes

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Otherwise known as it's okay to treat yourself. Life is hard, so take care of you. If that means going on a shopping spree every once in a while, then so be it.

5. You're going to be okay

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Whatever it is you're going through, you're going through it and you're going to come out on the other side. It may seem horrible now, but you'll learn from it and be okay in the end.

6. You have to have friends in life

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It's important to have people to lean on, especially on your bad days, and to celebrate with on your good ones. You can't just have you or a significant other to rely on.

7. Never be afraid to share your opinion

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Don't be afraid to put your thoughts and opinions out there because they might be wrong. They could have a huge impact on someone or something.

8. Don't stress over things you have no control over

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Everyone is on their own path, which means everything will work out the way it's supposed to, even if it doesn't make sense right now. Again, you're going to be okay.

9. Happy, healthy, wealthy, wise

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My dad always says if you tell yourself every day that you're happy with yourself or your life, you're healthy and strong, you're wealthy in love and surrounded by great people, and you're knowledgable or wise, then you can achieve anything in life.

10.  S*** or get off the pot

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My all-time favorite piece of advice. Making decisions can be hard and scary, especially if the outcome could be getting hurt in the end. So, you either make a decision and roll with it no matter the outcome or you walk away.

Thanks, mom and dad for always being a phone call away when I need it! Just know that your advice and words of wisdom don't go unnoticed. For others, your parents have been on this planet much longer than you have and most likely experienced the same situations that you're dealing with. They don't have all the answers, but they are there to help.

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