Why I Love Living Off-Campus

I love living off-campus at F&M. While I had a few good years in the dorms, living on West James has been a great experience. It’s a completely different atmosphere from living on F&M’s campus, even though I’m just a hundred meters away.

            When you live on West James, you seem much closer to downtown Lancaster and are much more a part of the community. It’s easy to walk to nearby bars to participate in trivia nights or head out to First Fridays. There are so many fantastic events that constantly happen downtown that a lot of people at F&M don’t participate in. Even living such a short distance away, it seems so much more realistic to walk to Lancaster businesses and become a part of the community. You can also support small businesses.

            Just a few minutes away, are multiple coffee shops, like Mean Cup and Chestnut Hill Café. While lots of other students study at these places, it doesn’t feel like you’re on campus studying and a change of scenery can do you good. Spend time at these cafes, drinking some of their amazing coffee and doing your readings for class.

            There are also some great small stores near West James, such as Dog Star books, Lemon Street Market, and Splits and Giggles. Supporting local businesses is commendable, along with exploring the local community. There are so many unique homes and fun sites near West James, such as a little library set up on the sidewalk. When I have free time, I love to wander the sidewalks near my apartment, listening to music and exploring the unique flavor of Lancaster.

            When my friends and I feel more adventurous, we tackle the twenty minute walk and go all the way downtown to the many stores and restaurants that Lancaster is home to. We often end the night at Brendee’s, an Irish pub around the corner that is always a fun time and pretty laid back.

            One of my favorite memories from living on West James is one day, walking back from class, I decided to stop by the used bookstore that’s across the street in the basement of the theological seminary. I’ve never spent much time exploring the seminary grounds, but I had some free time and I wanted to check out the used books. Following some signs, I wandered up the stone stairs to the seminary and walked inside. There were more signs leading to the bookstore, but I had to stop and look at the beautiful chapel and library that was housed in this building. I’ve lived next to this place for the last three years, but it wasn’t until I moved off campus that I decided to actually take a look at it.