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Brianna Stephens
Life as a Corps Member

Settling Into Indy: Tips for Single College Grads

Corps member Brianna Stephens (Indy '17) is a Transition Team Leader (TTL) for incoming 2018 corps members. With Induction and Institute around the corner, she shares honest and insightful tips and advice for moving to Indianapolis.

By Brianna Stephens

May 24, 2018

1. Definitely plan ahead of time. I moved to Indianapolis from Atlanta, Georgia. | handled most of my move-in process during Summer  Institute while I was in Houston, Texas. I did not have a position before inductions in Indianapolis; therefore, I had to attend the Hiring Fair while the housing tour was going on. I did not really get to look at any potential  apartments. As a result, I was picking apartments blind while in Houston. I had to rely on reviews and the opinions of those who did get a chance to look at apartments to make my decision. I chose to apply to one that had an online system rather than trying to mail money orders from Houston. Once I found my apartments, Center Point Apartments, I applied. Once they approved me, I set up the electricity, the internet, mail fonNarding, and renters’ insurance, etc. all from Houston. It was easy. The apartments I applied to had a one—stop website to do all of those things. The website was free to use. If your apartments do not offer this service, you need to make sure to ask the leasing office what companies they normally use and research the internet and cable providers in your area. You need to schedule electricity and internet ahead of time or you risk being without power and an internet connection for a couple days.

Broad Ripple Village

2. You do not have to live in Broad Ripple. Many people feel pressured into living there because it is where all the young people live. Sure, many corps members live there, and there may be tons of fun stuff to do there. However, I would recommend looking at apartments that are closer to your school. Traffic is not that bad here. It is certainly not as bad as Atlanta, Georgia! Additionally, you can still save on gas by living closer to your school. You do not have to get up as early. You may even find more affordable places to live  closer to your school. Moreover, you get to experience the community as your students experience it. It is a good idea to remain visible in your community rather than just teaching, and retreating far away to your house every day. I currently live five minutes away from my school. Yet, I am not going to sugar coat it. My apartments are nice, but I definitely live in a food desert. There are not many places to shop. However, I enjoy living in my community. I enjoy seeing my students while I am out. They realize that I am living here right with them — which means I understand what it is like. Therefore, unless you actually teach in Broad Ripple, I would look for apartments near your school.

3. Everywhere has at least one bad review. Every apartment you look into is going to have wronged at least one person. It is going to be impossible to find apartments with a five star rating and not a single bad review. Moreover, it is going to take forever to find apartments if that is your aim. I spent a lot of time looking at apartments, and then being turned off by two or three bad reviews. At some point, you have to decide what the best of bad is. Can you live where someone had a bunch of spiders in their apartment? Can you handle a rude property owner? Are you patient enough for lazy maintenance workers? You have to find a balance between the good and the bad. Consider what you are looking for like apartments that come with a washer/dryer, a fitness center, a gated community, etc., and then read the reviews to see if it is worth it. Also, ask other corps members about where they live. They can give you a real explanation of what it is like, because they have first-hand experience.

“I enjoy living in my community. I enjoy seeing my students while I  am out. They realize that I am living here right with them — which means I understand what it is like.”

Brianna Stephens

Indianapolis Corps Member 2017

4. Do not freak out about not having furniture for the first couple of weeks or months. You will survive. I received a grant/loan from TFA to help my moving process. It was extremely helpful. l was able to pay my rent two months in advance. This was important because I was without a paycheck from May until the middle of August. Waiting for that paycheck was excruciating. I did not order a bed until a couple of weeks after moving to Indianapolis. l was schlepping it on a twin blow up mattress. I did not finish furnishing and decorating my apartment until October. I had the bare minimum in my apartment and] was fine. The furnishing and decorating was  really only because I wanted my apartment to look pretty.

5. Living costs are low enough that you can live by yourself. It really depends on what type of person you are. If you just love living with other people, then, by all means, live with two, three, four other people. However, the cost of living in Indianapolis is low enough for you to live comfortably by yourself. The extra one to two hundred you may spend to live alone is worth the comfort. [currently live by myself, and I love having a space to myself after a long day at work. I can visit my friends at their apartments. I do not need to live with them.

Downtown Indy - Flickr

6. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Seriously, ask for help when you need it. You don’t have to live in your car for the first couple days because you don’t have an apartment yet. Corps members will support you!

Teach For America Indianapolis Team Photo