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Living on Campus vs. Off Campus From a Salley Hall Survivor’s Perspective

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

If you’re like me, the thought of moving into your first dorm and living on a college campus was equal parts exciting and absolutely terrifying. Will you make it to your classes on time? What if you don’t like your roommates? What if the people on your floor are too loud? Unfortunately, some of these worries never really go away.

Even now, finally living off campus after a year in Salley Hall and a year in Traditions, I worry about making it to class on time, why the people next to me are being so loud, and how to bond with all these people I’m living with. I find myself missing some things about being on campus, but also being so, so thankful to not have to deal with others. Fundamentally, living on campus and living off come with their struggles. Let’s get into the biggest aspects of living on campus vs. living off campus that I’ve experienced.


on campus

Parking is an issue many Florida State University (FSU) students are very well acquainted with, and a problem I had severely underestimated before living off campus. For the FSU students who live on campus and bring their car with them, a common question seems to be “What do I do with my car?” and the answer? Who knows.

I didn’t have a car to worry about when I lived in Salley, although I used to wish I did because the hall was a 15 to 20 minute walk from everywhere else on campus. Though Salley, Rogers, and McCollumn Halls were some of the lucky dorms with overnight parking lots, those lots were completely full by 10 p.m. When I lived in Traditions Hall, it was a passive-aggressive battle every night to find spots in the circus lots (one of the few places outside of the garages you can park in overnight). If I’d moved my car during the day, be it for a grocery trip or class, it would be nearly impossible to find another spot there until well into the afternoon, once classes were over. The later it gets, the more likely it is you’ll be speeding through the rows trying to beat the other six cars in the lot to the singular parking spot left. Once you inevitably lose the spot, you go to the next closest lot, then the next closest garage, until you’re not even close to where you live anymore, and you’ve decided to never move your car again. 

off campus

I can’t speak for everywhere off campus, but overnight parking is a far less stressful issue for most of the apartments I’ve looked at. These places plan accordingly, making sure they have enough parking spots for all their residents, and as of now, I haven’t had to worry about where my car is going every night or if I’ll be towed. However, nothing could have prepared me for how bad parking is for commuters. There were signs; I mean, surely this many people complaining about parking meant that there was some kind of shortage, but I never expected to not be able to find a single spot in three different garages at noon. It’s different now since none of my classes are walkable from my apartment. I’ve settled for parking super far away and counting on the bus system to get me from one side of campus to the other on time. It’s actually been working pretty well. 

As far as parking goes, it’s kind of a lose-lose. Live on campus, have to scavenge for a spot every night, and never, ever move your car, or live off campus and still have to scavenge for parking to get to class. 

campus involvement

on campus

There’s no denying that it’s so much easier to be involved in campus activities when everything’s pretty much right there, less than a 15 minute walk away. I’m far more likely to go to Market Wednesday on a whim if I don’t have to pack all my stuff for class and drive there first. The involvement fair is right there, the career and part-time job fair is just a little bit farther away, and that event on Landis starts in just a few minutes. Want to go see The Lego Batman Movie at the ASLC? Just throw some shoes on and go.

off campus

Once you’re off campus, it’s more of a conscious choice to make it to campus events, and there’s a lot more involved in the process. For that reason, a lot of people end up skipping those events and missing out on those opportunities. Not that all people who live off campus stop coming to events; the extra trek just narrows it down a little to the people who really want to go or who can dedicate more time. 

However, limiting time spent on campus has, in my experience, allowed me to become more familiar with the areas farther away from the university, like North Monroe Street and Thomasville, while also allowing me to save money on events like Market Wednesday (because it’s been bleeding me dry) and campus dining in general. It has also allowed me to focus more on my classes and the parts of campus I’m already involved in. 

So, whether you’re living on campus or off, there are plenty of pros and cons to both. Living on campus was so beneficial at the time and it will probably end up depending on what works better for you. 

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Mairyn is a senior at Florida State University, majoring in Editing, Writing and Media, and Mass Media Studies, and planning to graduate early. She is new to Her Campus, but very excited to start creating. She enjoys reading fantasy novels, spending time with friends, and recreating her favorite takeout recipes.