I’d like to say that the stress that comes from trying to figure out housing goes away after freshmen year, alas I cannot. Finding a place to live is always complicated, especially in New York City. Basically you have three options:
1. Live at Home
If you, like many FIT students, live in the tri-state area, it is probably possible for you to commute to school everyday using the Metro North, LIRR or Subway. The biggest pro of this is free housing (assuming your parents are not going to charge you rent). That is huge when considering the high price of rent in the city, and dorming isn’t exactly cheap. However, living at home has its downsides. First of all, most people want to feel like they are getting away and starting their own life at college. Living at home doesn’t really create this type of fulfillment and may detract from learning to live on your own, i.e. cooking for yourself, cleaning up after yourself, doing laundry, etc. Also, commuting is extremely tiring. I interned and did one class over the winterim session one year and I would get home around 7 or 8 pm and just crash. Sometimes I wouldn’t even eat dinner I was so tired. The commute doesn’t even have to be that long, just the stress, and dealing with other stressed travelers, can really take it out of you. Finding time for a social life is demanding as well. You can’t just walk down the hall, or decide to meet down the block if you are living an hour away. In terms of stuff, FIT offers lockers to rent for $10. These are reserved for commuter students, although they go quickly, so get one asap. To be honest, I’ve never had a locker so I cannot say whether or not they are big enough for all the stuff every major has. Trust me, everyone has so much stuff at FIT.
2. Finding an Apartment
I’m going to be honest, I have never looked for an apartment before, but I’m terrified of it. I am hoping to start looking when I get home from Italy, and it all is very overwhelming. Apartments in New York are small, expensive and hard to come by. I wish I could give advice on this subject, but instead I’ll just have to ask for some! As soon as I start the process I will definitely let you know what I find. *Gulp*
This is where I have my expertise. I have dormed for three years at FIT (except for here in Italy) and there are definitely pros and cons. There are four different dorms. Alumni, CoEd and Nagler are reserved (for the most part) for freshmen. Kaufman, the biggest, is mostly upper classmen. Generally the biggest pro of living in the dorms is how close it is to the school. It takes about three minutes from bedroom to classroom at any of the 27th Street (freshmen) dorms and about ten minutes from Kaufman. All the dorms also have laundry machines in the building, which is a rarity in NYC, and Kaufman has a (small) gym. Each building has a workroom which can be convenient for finding a space to work on projects without going into a room at the school. Alumni and Kaufman both have kitchens in the room, and therefore do not require meal plans. The biggest complaint for all dorms is overnight visitation. There are many steps for requesting an overnight guest and most students are fed up with it by the end of the first semester. The dorms are also very strict about alcohol as FIT is a dry campus, even if you are 21. Many students prefer Kaufman because it has newer facilities and is slightly more spacious (or at least seems that way because of the extremely high ceilings). Dorming is pretty much a toss up for pros and cons, but as a senior I am definitely hoping to move out on my own. Fingers crossed, I can find a place.
For any more specific information on the dorms I can answer any of your questions in the comments!