Should You Move Off Campus?

This year, in an effort to escape dorm life, I moved off campus into a studio apartment near Boston University West Campus. There are many things I love about being off campus, including cooking for myself and having my own space. However, there are definitely a few issues with my apartment, including security and some costs I didn’t originally consider. Boston University offers some great housing options, but living off campus can also be liberating. Whichever you choose to do, make sure you consider all of the factors before making your decision.

1. Consider the costs.

Rent can often be much cheaper than BU housing, especially if you move to Allston. However, there are other costs you have to consider as well. Some monthly costs may include electricity, heat, and Wi-Fi. In most cases, apartments do not come furnished, so you’ll have to buy your own furniture. If you’re taking furniture from home, keep in mind that buying space on a moving truck can be costly. In addition, you’ll have to buy dishes and cooking supplies for your kitchen. You’ll also have to pay for groceries instead of a meal plan. Some people who live off campus have an abbreviated meal plan, but many people want to avoid the dining hall. Also, if you live far from campus, you may be paying to take the T to class instead of walking.

2. Who will you live with?

Do you want to live alone, with friends, or with random roommates? Everyone has their own preference, but be sure you’ll be in a situation that makes you happy. For me, I love living alone. I do best when I have my own space and privacy, and I can choose when I want to be with friends. If you do live alone, consider the fact that a studio or one bedroom will be more expensive than splitting rent with others. If you do choose to live with others, make sure it’s a situation that you’re comfortable with. Don’t rush into living with people that you’re not sure about just because you’re desperate to get off campus. Most importantly, if you choose to live with others, make sure you have similar living habits.

3. Don’t underestimate the importance of security.

I came home from winter break to find a homeless man living in the hallway outside my room. All the doors into the building lock, but people keep letting him into the building. This is a huge safety concern for me, but it’s very common to have a homeless person living in the buildings around West Campus and Allston. In many residences on campus, there are security guards. I definitely took that security for granted. If you’re moving off campus, you may want to invest in an alarm system. You can also buy other security items such as alarm key chains or pepper spray.

4. Cooking for yourself.

Many people move off campus because they’re tired of the dining hall food. I love cooking for myself, but some days I just don’t feel like cooking, whether it’s because I’m tired of doing dishes or I’m just feeling lazy. Of course, you can get food delivered, but the cost adds up. The dining hall offers quick, easy meals. Be honest with yourself; if you know you’ll have trouble cooking meals every day, maybe living on campus and eating at the dining hall is a better option for now.

5. New responsibilities.

Moving off campus means you have to do much more adulting. You have to find an apartment. You have to pay your rent and other bills every month. You have to cook meals. You have to clean your bathroom. You may have to learn how to do some basic repair work if your landlord or super isn’t that responsive. Some people are happy to take these responsibilities on, and others aren’t quite ready yet. There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to deal with these responsibilities yet, so if you’re not ready yet, just enjoy being on campus for now.

Overall, moving off campus has been freeing for me. Even though my apartment touches a BU building, I feel like I’m living in the city of Boston, not on the BU campus. Security is definitely my biggest concern, but I love everything else about being off campus. Cooking for myself makes me feel healthier and responsible. I’m a person who needs time to myself often, so it’s nice to have my own space. Seeing my apartment with my own furniture and personal decorations makes it feel much more like home than a dorm ever did. Living alone and off campus has been the highlight of my school year.


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