Two years in a trailer: a student and alternative living

Jacob Parker

After living in a dorm for the majority of my freshman year, I felt that I’d received more than my fair share of campus living experiences.

Music that blared through the walls, repulsive showers that apparently were only cleaned once a week, the restrictions imposed on me, and living in the same small quarters with another human being were all factors that contributed to my quick exit from dorm life.

I found myself a simple trailer fairly close to campus with reasonable rent. Having never lived in a trailer park — but being familiar with small strains of truth that tend to emerge out of stereotypes — I was a little apprehensive.

However, this was to be the place I called home and, despite the needed pressure wash and fix-ups, it looked like the perfect place. I looked forward to having a spot that I could declare exclusively mine, sans the bunk beds, community bathrooms and visitor guidelines of the previous seven months of my life.

I moved in around this time two years ago and knew it was the right decision. Two years later, I’m questioning the credibility of my decision making.

Don’t get me wrong, things were simple enough. Quick patch ups like fixing nail holes in the wall and assassinating spiders seemed to be day-to-day business.

Bigger fixes came along soon enough. What with a vintage trailer from the 1980s and all appliances intact, things eventually have to start to fail. Fail they did.

First it was the air conditioner, then it was the plumbing, then it was the heater, on and on until most recently water continually leaking and ruining the floor in the bathroom.

Due to the issue with my bathroom floor, I’ve spent the past couple of weeks attempting to find a new place to live. Coming back from spring break to find the trailer immediately to the left of my own completely charred from an apparent explosion sealed the deal.

Luckily enough, as of this week I officially have a new and spacious apartment in a house downtown with an amazing friend and roommate.

I walk away from my two years in a trailer with more heartwarming memories than I could ever put a number on and plenty of life lessons when it comes to living situations.

First, do some research on the history of your neighborhood. Figure out if the neighborhood has a history of drugs or violence. If you pick the wrong neighborhood, people WILL knock on your doors asking for drugs that you may not have heard of.

Second, weigh your risks versus your reward. Don’t put your effort into fixing something that’s falling apart regardless. This can be said for both trailers and bad relationships, depending on your situation.

And lastly (which is more of a life lesson I learned rather than a living tip), love where you live even if it sucks. I’ve had plenty of terrible experiences in both dormitory life and trailer park living. On the flip side, I’ve also had times there that wouldn’t have been as amazing or meaningful had they not occurred where they did.

Growing up and getting your own place can be a hassle, and there’s no real way to do it without learning the hard way on your own. Though, for what it’s worth, my advice would be to avoid living in a trailer.