Furnishing an apartment is often above a college student’s financial means, especially for out-of-state students.
The dorms have a fair number of downsides: public bathrooms, smaller quarters and no kitchen. One thing that the dorms did right for me was being pre-furnished. The furniture was nothing special, just some neutral, birch pieces meant to provide the bare levels of functionality, but it was something.
And that was all I needed or wanted. I’m an out-of-state student, and there was no other way that I was going to be able to furnish my room. I couldn’t drag a bed frame across the country in my Ford Fiesta, and I definitely wasn’t going to be able to afford new furniture or have the time to thrift old pieces in Tulsa.
The student apartments on campus don’t meet the same bare levels of functionality that the dorms do, and that continues to baffle me. Nowhere else have I heard of students having to somehow conjure up their own furnishings for student apartments.
The “student” in “student apartments,” I feel, is important to emphasize. These apartments are designed for TU students with limited resources and who likely don’t plan to live on campus more than three or four years. Requiring students to completely fill and empty an apartment’s furnishings on move-in and move-out days is a tall order, never mind the fact that the students must also self-supply their furniture.
I moved into a third story walkup student apartment on campus this semester, and I’m overall pleased with the results. But I’m also incredibly cognizant of the fact that almost all of our apartment’s furniture are thrifted pieces found and stored over the summer by my roommate who lives in Tulsa year-round. Again, because I haul myself from Tulsa to the east coast and back every summer in my li’l ol’ Ford, I just wasn’t at all able to bring my own furniture (aside from a mail-order desk I had sent to a Tulsa address and later put together myself).
And while my roommate did a fantastic job furnishing our space on the cheap, I can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if no one in our apartment was a Tulsa local or was even from Oklahoma. Would we have had to drag a U-Haul with us to TU? Would we have lived in an empty apartment until cheap, thrifted pieces slowly trickled in? Would someone have to bite the financial bullet and spring for the expensive immediacy of all new digs? I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done in that situation.
What I do know is that TU has no plan either. The student apartments not being stocked with even the barest of essentials tells me that TU didn’t think of the difficulties out-of-state students, which make up 38 percent of the student population, would face trying to furnish an apartment. That, or the university expects a student upgrading from a dorm to a larger living space to be able to shell out the extra hundreds or thousands of dollars to afford the necessary furniture.