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I recently started my junior year of college, and at least at UVM, that typically means you live off-campus in downtown Burlington. I was lucky enough to spend my summer in Burlington, so I had a few months to get acclimated into my environment before the addition of schoolwork. The transition can be challenging so I wanted to share a few tips that I’ve found to be pretty helpful.

When it comes to food, unless you decide to purchase a school dining plan, you are 100% on your own. Meaning you have to fit grocery shopping into your new routine. While Trader Joe’s frozen meals are a staple for many, cooking a meal for yourself every now and then is a good idea. Try thinking of 3-4 meals you know how to make. They can be as simple as pasta and vegetables or more challenging depending on your cooking level and time. Break down the ingredients of those meals, try to find some overlap, and use that to outline your grocery list. Make sure to add to that list food for an easy grab-and-go breakfast like oatmeal or smoothie ingredients. Not only will this help you stick to a budget, but also make eating healthy meals much easier.

Where I live, we have a coin-operated washer and dryer in the basement. If you are like me and let laundry build up for weeks, finding a good laundromat is key. That way, instead of spending all day doing multiple loads of laundry, you can get it all done at once. Union St Laundry is next to Willows bagels AND Folinos so you can get something to eat while you wait. 

Picking up after yourself (and sometimes your roomie) in a dorm room has been nothing compared to having to clean an apartment (or house!). What has been working for my roommates and me has been making a chore chart with different areas of the house, specific things we notice get dirty in that area, and switch rooms from week to week. It keeps things fair since objectively cleaning the bathroom is far worse than cleaning the living room. It definitely can be hard to find time for cleaning, but it’s a perfect way to procrastinate homework and makes for a much less stressful environment. An added tip here is to be aware of the messes you create in a space that someone else has to clean. Generally, not leaving a tornado behind you makes for a much happier roommate relationship. 

Living off-campus has definitely proven challenging to make sure I get exercise. Lucky (or unlucky) for me, I have a 20-minute uphill walk to campus every day which lets me feel a little less guilty for not making it to the gym very often. The campus gym is still a great option if you live a little closer or want to commute. Otherwise, the Burlington YMCA is a super popular (and pretty affordable) gym. Another option, which I became a mild expert on during lockdown, is finding free and fun home workouts on youtube! Some of my favorite channels are MadFit, Blogilates, and Yoga with Adriene. 

While the transition to living off-campus can be tough, it opens up a whole new world of independence. Learning to balance academics, health, self-care, and a social life is necessary to succeed in this newfound independence. Don’t be afraid to lean on friends and family for help!



Edited by: Emma Hoechner

Hi I'm Annie! I'm a third year Sociology major at UVM. I love writing about things on campus as well as beauty, fashion and living a sustainable lifestyle!
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