Record admissions results again, I hear? According to the reputable, peer-reviewed database Funny2.com (“the place for humor on the Internet”), the odds that an application to Yale will be successful are now lower than your chances of having a stroke next year and only slightly higher than the risk of your next flight being flown by a drunken pilot. (Apparently, odds of the latter are a terrifying 1 in 117, which explains a lot about that time I woke up from an in-flight snooze to find that we’d landed in the wrong country.)
Because I’m a terrible person, whenever the Admissions Office releases its yearly stats, I always feel a huge zing of confidence. Never again, I think smugly, will I ever face anything else so competitive. The worst is over! Compared to this, life will be a cakewalk.
This, boy and girls, is called hubris — and I am now paying for it. This week has taught me that there is something harder than getting into Yale, and that’s finding a place to live once you’re here. Apparently, the only form more likely to be rejected than your Common App is your lease request with Elm Campus Partners, providers of off-campus apartments and gnawing despair.
Here’s how I know: Over spring break, my roommate and I decided on a whim that to hell with these world-class residential college facilities; next year, let’s live somewhere small and overpriced off camps instead! So, in our naiveté, we made a few casual inquiries to realtors.
What followed was exactly how I imagine a battle on “Game of Thrones,” if the Seven Kingdoms were fighting for an unpainted living room instead of the Iron Throne. On our first day of house hunting, 14 people showed up to view a lone two bedroom. Fourteen. Everyone exchanged silent, poisonous looks. If the tour had lasted any longer, someone might have ended up face-first out the window.
Afterwards, my roommate and I looked on in horror as friends stole friends’ application logins to poach each other’s housing. Sooner or later (definitely sooner), we too found ourselves descending to depths we didn’t know we were capable of. Within 48 hours, we were calling the nice man from the rental agency every hour in an attempt to elicit more from him than a one-line email addressed to “u 2” and signed “TY.” Apparently, 12 phone calls were not enough, because we lost the real estate battle. So now we’re having to pick through the dregs to find anything — anything — that’s left.
Which is how, this morning, I found myself in an apartment in a popular development near Alpha Delta. The building, don’t get me wrong, is ideal: very trust-fund grunge, full of lots of people who look great in beanies.
This particular apartment, however, should probably be roped off by the CDC. We looked around in the dark because only one lightbulb was working in the whole place. The floor was a garden of congealed cups and graying socks. “This is the last two-bedroom unit available in our entire agency,” the realtor told us as we admired the way a patina of mold gave a certain “je ne sais quoi” to the bathroom. In the kitchen, an array of dishes covered in some sort of salad festered fetchingly. I stepped a little closer; it turned out the salad was actually, no joke, a full plate of weed. (I can only assume that the fork and knife were for ease of consumption.) “We have a lot of demand for this unit,” the realtor said pointedly as she bent down to sniff the plate. “I need to know right now if you’re taking it, or someone else will. This is your last chance.”
“No other vacancies?”
“Not even that place the man died in last year, where they didn’t find his corpse for months?”
“That was actually one of our most sought-after properties. It went months ago.”
Class of 2018, enjoy the high of your acceptance. But get ready to adjust your expectations: The real competition has only just begun.