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Opinion: OU student describes experience living in hotel anticipating transition to online classes

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Hotel Room

A hotel room set up for an extended stay on Sept. 8.

In the whirlwind of a year that 2020 has been, I’ve remained skeptical about the longevity of in-person classes at OU. I have very low faith that in-person classes will last longer than three weeks. And due to an internship that I took in the spring of 2019, fall 2020 is my last semester of college. Lucky me.

My biggest problem when returning to Oklahoma from my family's home in Illinois was finding housing. Pre-COVID, I figured I could just sublet from a student that would be studying abroad for a semester. Once that was not an option anymore, I began calling apartments to find the best rate in town. Roommates were tricky due to my single semester and the sublet market being virtually nonexistent, so the search for single rooms began.

Most single apartments are way too expensive, have no furnishings and/or have no internet included. It was looking like I was about to lock into a six-month lease until I had my “genius” idea: I should live in a hotel. 

In theory it was perfect, everything is included and if my assumption of school going online in three weeks was correct, I'm not locked into a lease. I ditched the search for apartments and switched to finding an extended-stay hotel. 

So, I am writing this column from my hotel room off of I-35, where the room costs $30 a night. I have cable, a relatively comfy bed, fridge, microwave, stove and painfully slow internet (I can pay extra for faster internet, but as you can see, I am cheap.)

I’ll be honest, so far the experience is not great. I’ve stayed in worse places, but if I have to do this for a whole semester don’t be shocked if you see me sleeping on a bench on the South Oval and bathing in the duck pond. This decision only makes sense if OU moves to online learning, then I can pack my car up and head north for the winter.

That pretty much sums up my thought process on why I am currently living in a hotel. If you would like to send me a letter about this article — I don't think you can, I currently don’t have an address. If you would like to keep reading I am going to outline all the flaws with this situation. I am not a professional hotel critic but I am good at finding the flaws in things, just ask my girlfriend.

First off, this isn’t a flaw in the hotel, but I underestimated just how far this place was from campus. It is right next to the Route 77 exit of I-35, so it's a solid 18 minutes to get to campus from here. Back to the hotel: Since it is only $30 per night I can’t be that mad about anything, but I will be.

I assumed that this would be like most extended stays that contain a basic stock of utensils, pots, pans and plates. This place does not and I decided to let my sister, who is moving into her first college apartment, borrow my kitchen essentials, leaving me with nothing. There is a cutting board though.

The water pressure in the shower and sinks is equivalent to being sprayed by a dollar store squirt gun. There is no chair here except a stiff plastic one at the kitchen table/desk and the same type of chair next to the nightstand, just in case I want to invite a friend over. Leaving only the bed to sit on to relax and watch TV — speaking of TV, the remote only works half the time.

All in all, my expectations were low and the hotel meets them. It’s very similar to living in the dorms. The light in the hallway is always on and there is an illegal smell coming from your neighbors' bathroom. You meet some interesting characters but they are all nice people that hold the door for you. Although one day I saw an elderly man passed out in his vehicle with a walker holding the door open and a six-pack on top of his car. 

There is a laundromat in the building and it puts a roof over my head so I can’t be too mad. Although, if OU doesn't go online for the semester I may have made a huge mistake.

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