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Preparation For Living Off-Campus

Since I was 14, I have been living in dorms. After attending a boarding school for four years, I’d like to think I learned how to be a pretty decent roommate and how to effectively share space. However, as I approach the conclusion of my sophomore year in college, I can confidently say I am done living in dorms. While I may not mind sharing close quarters with someone most of the time, there are moments where I’d prefer to come home after a stressful day and be able to relax in my own room without anyone else present. Roommates can be great but no matter how friendly you are, everyone needs alone time. So, that’s why I’m so excited to finally be getting my own room in an apartment after I come back to campus in the spring semester.

In preparation for this, I have been trying to come up with a few tips and tricks to manage living not only on my own but with a kitchen. One of the fundamentals to successfully live in an apartment is grocery shopping. Yes, I’m excited to not have a meal plan and be able to buy food that I like, but I also know that I have to be smart and cost-effective when it comes to grocery shopping. This means buying in bulk, when applicable, and meal prepping. Some staples I think will be necessary to have are eggs, milk, bread, cereal, cold cuts, and vegetables.

Another preparation for living off-campus is paying rent. Whenever I’ve lived in a dorm my “rent” has been included in my school bill so planning on saving money for rent is a new concept for me. To do this, I’ve already started saving and plan to save even more from my job over the summer. But in times when you can’t make the full rent payment yourself—especially when you’re living in a high populous city—it’s important to find other ways to pay. In this case, I sat down with my parents and explained to them my hopes for living in an apartment spring semester. I was fortunate enough that they agreed to help me cover some of the costs but they were adamant about me keeping a job and spending my money responsibly. Ways to finance yourself can be found through your university. For example, Boston University offers Undergraduate Research Opportunity Programs which will fund your independent research either during the school year or in the summer.

Finally, taking care of your apartment is of the utmost importance, especially when you’re sharing it with other roommates. Creating a chores list to manage your space is helpful and making sure all of your roommates are on the same page is also key. You want to live with people who have similar habits to you. Whether that be their cleanliness or their bedtimes, it’s always important to create a comfortable living space. When I lived in a suite freshmen year, we split up these chores weekly as well as the purchasing of cleaning products and toilet paper. Having that conversation at first may be awkward but everyone wants to live in a clean home so ultimately it should work out.

I’m excited to finally have my own space and live in such an amazing city. While I know there will be initial challenges, I like to think I’m preparing myself for them by thinking about them now rather than later!


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Lucy is a junior studying Psychology at Boston University. She lives in San Diego but prefers Boston. She has one cat but she would really like a large dog. You can find her lounging on the Esplanade, binge-watching Netflix in her room, or hanging out with friends on the BU beach. 
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