4 Helpful Pieces of Advice for Navigating Off-Campus Living

So what now? It’s your second year of college and you want nothing more than to get out of the dorms, to be on your own and live by your own rules. But at heart, you’re a child who still has their mom do their laundry. Renting an apartment off-campus may be a culture shock, but is definitely worth it in the end. Coming from someone who has their fair share of horror stories, I’ve compiled some useful advice for navigating off-campus living.

1. Rent from private companies.

Going through a private renter is the best way to make sure you are getting the best results. Large companies have many properties to manage, so they might not be as attentive to their tenants. Although going through a private landlord might be a bit more expensive, the apartments are usually much nicer, and you end up getting more for your money in the end.

2. Communicate with your roommates.

Having roommates might be fun in the beginning, but ultimately disagreements are bound to happen. If something is bothering you don’t be afraid to speak up. But keep an open mind, not everyone lives the same way as you do. Pick and choose your battles and fight for them. Passive aggressiveness is petty and a waste of time. Save your breath and be honest!

3. Make a budget and stick to it.

Living off-campus means paying rent. It is so important that you make a budget for yourself so that you don’t exceed your limits. When looking for places online, only look at places you can afford. Not having that temptation to spend more makes the process much easier. Once you start living in your new place, keep track of your expenses so you know how much you owe each month. You don’t want to find yourself owing more money than you thought.

4. Grow up.

This process makes you very aware of what the real world is like. Not everyone is going to hold your hand, so you’re going to have to do a lot of things on your own. Take pride in the things you own, and take care of the space you live in. Taking responsibility for actions is a hard lesson to learn, but comes with time and experience. Stay optimistic and if you are ever not sure, ask! There are no stupid questions.

Living alone will teach you many valuable lessons that you will use for the rest of your life. Being able to come and go as you please, and having a space to call home is very rewarding. Challenges may come and go, but nevertheless, you grow closer to feeling like a real adult. You will be making some of your best memories with the people that you surround yourself with, so make the most of it before it ends.

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