The Truth About Living Off Campus

Moving off campus was an exciting decision. The first apartment tour was exciting, too. Then the second and third were not quite as fun, and by the fourth apartment tour, I was feeling very drained. My potential roommates and I heard about a house that a friend of a friend lived in. It was perfect and everything we wanted. But, of course, we had to camp outside of the leasing office for 10 hours overnight to sign the lease. So, really, what I’m trying to say is, living off campus is great, but here's the truth about it all.

First rent payment

Getting the first bill for August rent in July is almost startling. I knew it was coming, but still, it was the middle of the summer and I wasn’t even close to moving in yet. I felt like I had just moved out of my dorm and now I was paying for a house that I had only seen once. But, the leasing offices know what they’re doing and payment in July is normal, so I rolled with it.

Move in day

Moving in is great. You don’t have to move in on one certain day; instead, you have the day that you can first get your key and then a week until school starts and you can move in anytime between. There are no crowded elevators with 60 other students trying to get all of their stuff to their room before you. Parking lots can still be a little packed, but definitely not as overwhelming as the dorm lots. It’s just you, your roommates, and a few parents. Plus, in a house or apartment you’re a lot more spread out than the dorms, so everyone can set their room up in peace. The hardest part about move in day was all the extra furniture we had to bring up. Since our house was unfurnished we had beds, dressers, couches, and desks to add to the journey. Which means you might need a U-Haul or at least two cars.

Buying groceries

If you’re lucky, your parents will buy the first round of groceries. After that, you’re on your own. It’s exciting to finally get to pick what you want to eat and plan out meals. It’s less fun getting to the register every month and seeing the total. Some people struggle with this more than others. It all really depends on the types of food you buy. Luckily, I’ve managed to keep my costs low by stocking up on just a few things that I know I’ll eat and then going out to buy replacements when I run out. It can be tedious eating the same foods over, but we did that in the residential restaurants anyways. Plus, I like all the foods I have so really it's a win.

Cooking

The truth is, you really can have too many cooks in the kitchen. Breakfast and lunch meals are usually pretty quiet because everyone has different schedules and is in and out of the house all at different times. Dinner is a different story. Three people using the stove, one using the oven, and another just chopping things on the counter get chaotic real fast. We’ve all had to learn when there's enough room in the kitchen for another meal to be made or when you just have to sit back for a few minutes and wait for someone else to be done. The actual cooking part is great, though. It's so nice to have a real sized fridge instead of a mini fridge. The oven and stove just waiting for any great meal you want to make, amazing. I posted a bread recipe about a month back because my roommates and I can all just make fun treats like that now. I love being able to make real meals. Off campus kitchens are definitely a plus

Utility bills

There are no upsides to utility bills. They suck and it’s sad to get them. I finally understand why my parents didn’t have the heat up high in the winter, it's expensive. I live in the coldest part of my house, the basement, and at this point, I’m very happy to keep my bed piled with blankets if it means not having the heat as high.

Walking to class

In the fall walking to class is great. I live close to campus, so it isn’t really a hassle. Some may choose to buy a commuter parking pass, only one of my roommates did, but I don’t mind leaving a little earlier to walk. The only sad part about walking to class is when the snow starts and you have to walk that extra little bit off campus and you really really just want to be back inside and warm again.

With my whole heart, I really love my house and living off campus. And while paying for things sucks, it is so worth the freedom and space you get moving out of the dorms.