Student Residence Life: Live large for cheap at Conesus Lake

I wake up to the sound of crashing waves and for once it's not another guy in the dorm passing his garbage plate and Genny. It's the sound of breakers hitting the shore of Conesus Lake, which is just a short drive up route 20A from campus.

When you boil it down, many students are paying $600 a month for half of one room. They share a bathroom with at least three other residents.

I live in a four bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath house with two other people. We are provided comfortable furniture, a flat screen TV, a foosball table, linens, dishes, cookery, a stove, a dishwasher, a refrigerator, a grill, a tetherball court and both a washing machine and dryer. It's like the "Real World" but no one says, "I'm not here to make friends."

There are 17 windows on my first floor, and the water is about eight feet from my living room. When the windows are opened, there is a cross-breeze so refreshing I swear I can smell the Atlantic Ocean.

For safety, you can't beat it. Everyone around is rich and guaranteed to have better stuff than any of us. Someone broke into my house once and felt sorry for me, leaving a basket of fruit and card that read, "Hang in there! Better times are coming!"

As for distance, the 12-minute commute through pastures and woodland is long enough to put distance between where I work and where I sleep, but close enough to run home for lunch.

Despite these assets, every captain has his sad song. We've had a couple of plumbing problems and it can be crisp in the winter – many of these houses were originally designed as summer cottages, not meant for year-round use.

We also had a squirrel in the walls for a while and bats, but all things considered, these were small problems. I mean, in terms of party value, a dozen bats are far cheaper than a keg, and instantly crank the vibe up to rave status.

I would fully endorse a decision to live on the lake. Before signing the papers though, consider that many of the driveways slant downward. This can be tough in the winter, so have salt on-hand and ask your landlord if plowing is included in the rent.

Also be aware that the more you tell your friends, "I'm like the Great Gatsby!" the less they will invite you out. Keep it to yourself, and revel in the truth of it.