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My Experience Moving Off-Campus


Finals can be stressful. Finding a job can be stressful. Moving can be stressful. Doing all three things at once is even crazier.

Moving off-campus sounds like a great idea. No more swiping your card to get into your building, no more signing in guests, no more RA’s, and no more worrying about dorm rules. But finding a place is not all fun and games. My roommate and I scoured Craigslist looking for a house close to campus where both of us could sublease for the summer because two of our friends who wanted to live with us weren’t staying in town for the summer. After days of searching and not receiving any replies to emails, two prospects finally answered us. We looked at both places on the same day and felt like we had hit the jackpot with the second house. They girls needed two subleases for the summer and the other two girls were moving out at the end of the summer – meaning we could renew the lease in the fall and our friends could move in with us! It sounded perfect.

But there’s still more to it than just finding a place to live. We then had to find a date that fit all four of our schedules to meet with the landlord and sign a lease. We found out that even though we were subleasing for the summer, we still had to pay a deposit which was not cheap. My roommate and I then had to decide with the other two girls when they would move out, what they were leaving and what they were taking. Everyone was busy so it was hard to communicate and there were a few misunderstandings. Utilities were not included in rent and as opposed to just transferring the bills to one of our names, the girls decided to cancel their utilities. So with only a few days’ notice, I had to set up new accounts with the utilities company, the power company, and the internet company – all which had very expensive deposits and start-up fees that we didn’t realize we’d have to pay.

And with a new place, you need new things. We had to buy cleaning supplies, toilet paper, groceries, and houseware items. Our parents were gracious enough to give us some kitchen items and furniture, but buying everything else really starts to add up. If you haven’t realized by now, moving is very, very expensive. And stressful, too. We had to coordinate with our parents so they could help us move our things from the dorm to our house, and when we arrived we realized the previous tenants left a lot of food and other random things. We had no choice but to throw some of it away (as it was rotting or expired) and packed the rest in boxes. We’ve lived here for a week and we still haven’t finished cleaning the house or unpacking our things. The actual moving in extends long past move-in day.

I didn’t write this to deter anyone from moving off-campus. I wrote it so everyone else can prepare for it better than we did. The process of searching for the right place and moving in can be tedious and stressful, especially during finals week, but the end result is success. With moving into our very own house comes a lot of responsibility but it’s preparing us for the future and teaching us how to be more independent. 

Sarah is from Lynchburg, Virginia but has lived in Richmond since attending Virginia Commonwealth University in 2012 where she studied Mass Communications with a concentration in print journalism. She began contributing to Her Campus at VCU as a freshman and was developed to lead the chapter as Campus Correspondent for two years where she increased membership by 65% and brought the chapter ranking from bronze level to platinum level. She enjoyed attending both the mid-atlantic conferences held with the chapter at the College of William & Mary and Her Conferences held in NYC.  Sarah currently works in the tech industry in marketing. She has a background in communications, hospitality and nonprofit consulting. She still loves attending VCU basketball games and also loves live music. In her free time, she likes going on long walks with her dog, tending to her house plants and cycling around downtown. Fun fact: she has never owned a car and is a community advocate for public transit. Connect with Sarah on LinkedIn.
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