7 Things You Should Know About Moving Off Campus

Whether you’re a freshman or a senior, living off campus is an entirely different lifestyle that will make you adjust in ways you may or may not like. While you may be lured by the promise of independence or the fantasy of having your own bathroom when entering that apartment or house, there are some factors that will likely sidetrack your plans or possibly disappoint your expectations. I'm here to be your potential savior by telling you the seven things you need to know before you move off campus, as well as some tips on how to deal with the transition while maintaining your sanity.

1. Moving in with your friends does not always mean “happily ever after”I know what you’re thinking: Moving in with people you know should guarantee that you have crossed off all the weirdoes and slobs you could have been placed with. Well, you’re right — it does; however, it doesn’t mean your friend couldn’t secretly be that weirdo or slob. We all love our friends, but the reality is that just because you’ve had a couple of sleepovers or have known them for years doesn’t mean that living with them will be paradise. Arguments will happen. Not all expectations will be met. This may all sound negative, but I am here to tell you that it’s all going to be okay. You will have to make adjustments to your usual routines or change small things you didn’t realize would bother you until they actually bothered you, such as dishes in the sink or unswept floors. Making adjustments may not be fun, but the process makes you a more flexible person, which will serve you well in the long run.

2. Yes, you have to clean your own bathroomThe concept of having your own bathroom is a luxury that not many students may have; however, sometimes there's a hidden curse behind a blessing. Maintaining your bathroom to sanitary standards will become your sole responsibility. Unlike when you lived at home with your parents or on campus with a hired janitorial staff, you are now faced with the daunting task of cleaning your own bathroom regularly. According to Apartment Therapy, the unpleasant task of cleaning your toilet and sink should be completed weekly. However, it's acceptable to only clean your bathtub every two or three weeks to avoid mildew.

3. Fire alarms can be a pain in the buttDuring the first month of living in my apartment, my roommates and I managed to set off the fire alarm six times. A month after, one roommate of mine set it off five times in one day. Needless to say, setting off your fire alarm is a rite of passage and it is bound to happen in your apartment. Your housemates may not be as prone to cause “sudden smoke,” but it is still possible that someone will accidentally forget to turn on the ventilator in the kitchen, thus leading to the piercing sound of an alarm that will haunt your ears for next few hours. Do yourselves a favor and learn how to disarm your own fire alarm when this occurs or face the embarrassing consequence of having to knock on your neighbor’s door to ask them how to do so.

4. Passive-aggressive conflicts will happen... just roll with the punchesNot being passive-aggressive is easier said than done, but realizing that you are being passive-aggressive toward your roommates is the first step. At first, you may not notice how you're acting toward your roommates when they do something that annoys you because you are so caught up in adjusting to your new lifestyle with them. But soon you will catch on once you notice that your dream of hoping they will evaporate into thin air may be a tad bit unhealthy. Realizing the problems up front and being direct about them to your roommates is key if you want a happy, peaceful home. Confrontation is a scary thought for a lot of people, so know that you are not alone if you have this fear; but not being direct about problems only leads to discomfort and an accumulation of problems with zero solutions.

5. Eco-friendly = utility bill friendlyBesides rent, you will also be receiving a utility bill every month. A utility bill is essentially just an electric bill that sometimes includes water use, although many times that is already included with your rent. If you’re lucky enough to be living in an apartment with people who have grasped the concept of turning off lights when he or she leaves the room, your bill should range from roughly $18 to $32 per month. If you find yourself paying more than $30 per month in a four-by-four apartment or house, you and your roommates are doing something wrong. But that can easily be fixed. By simply keeping your AC at a moderate temperature and turning off the lights whenever you leave a room, your electric bill will reflect your efforts. If you want to go the extra mile, try reminding everyone to unplug their chargers when their devices are fully charged.

6. You should learn how to cook firstWith the independence that comes with living in your own apartment or house comes the task of having to feed yourself. Whether you are open to the idea of cooking or not, it’s important to learn how to cook for yourself because you will eventually have to after graduation. Though it may seem daunting at first, it really isn’t as bad as it seems once you get a few yummy and easy recipes in your back pocket. One of the main points of moving off campus is the fact that you will have your own kitchen; therefore, you should be taking advantage of it.

7. Finally, remember to have fun!This may seem like a cheesy, unnecessary suggestion, but it is something people forget quite often. Chances are that your roommates will be your friends for your entire college career and you’ll at least make one life-long friend from the experience. The memories you make will be what strengthen your relationships. Be creative. Experiment with your social lives and do things you normally wouldn’t do with your friends from home. My biggest regret from freshman year was being boring and having hardly anything resembling a social life because I thought my sole purpose was to get good grades and then treating myself to Netflix. Trust me when I say that having a social life, especially with friends that will be part of your core memories of college, is much more valuable than watching the same Grey’s Anatomy episode for the fifth time.

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