“You learn something new everyday.” For me, that couldn’t be more true. Living off-campus in an apartment for the first time (it’s been about 12 days now) has taught me more things per day than I can imagine, let alone count! So for all you WashU collegiettes out there, here is a condensed list of the top ten things I learned the hard way and wished I knew before leaving the South 40.
1.) Clorox wipes, Swiffer mops, and vacuums (depending on what kind of flooring you have) are your best friend. You will use them to no end unless you are one of the lucky ones moving into a brand new, freshly cleaned living space.
2.) Don’t make overly grand plans to decorate your room with paintings, curtains, photos, stuffed animals, etc., until after you have moved in. You will probably realize that your room is smaller than you remembered and it is now too much of a hassle to hang up 50 pictures or buy curtains and a curtain rod for a window that wasn’t made for them (not that I’ve experienced this or anything…).
3.) If you sublet, make sure to specify your expectations upon move-out. Without this conversation you may be left with a summer’s worth of grime to clean up, furniture to rearrange and leftover luggage/boxes to take care of.
4.) Try to buy furniture from seniors who are graduating or get donations from friends. It will help lower your expenses. Who knows, they might throw in some extra free stuff too!
5.) On that same note, be careful when buying furniture that requires assembly. I highly recommend getting some guy friends to help, or you might end up spending 3 hours building a 118lb desk with nothing but a screwdriver that you’re trying to double as a hammer.
6.) Buy only the basic, bare necessities (no pun intended) at the very beginning. If you have a roommate or two, share! Coordinate before move-in to avoid having two toasters, three blenders, but no microwave.
7.) If you are living with other people, set some house rules early on to avoid miscommunication and ill will. This may sound silly if you’re living with your best friend, but it helps to avoid conflict down the road. Nothing is worse than realizing your best friend now hates you because you play music late at night when she’s trying to sleep. A simple solution that you both could have agreed on in the beginning? Headphones!!!
8.) Try not to invite people over until you are all settled in and your place is presentable. As nice as it is to have friends over (especially now that you have a place off-campus to show off!), you don’t want to be known as “the girl whose room looks like a hurricane went through.”
9.) Know your area. That includes but is not limited to reading signs your landlord posts on doors, getting to know your neighbors so you have someone to turn to for help if needed, and figuring out the fastest route to school to avoid traffic jams in the morning/afternoon.
10.) Last but not least, know your landlord’s contact information! No matter how knowledgeable you are about your living space, something will always come up. Better safe than sorry!
I hope these words of wisdom help you sometime down the road! If you have any off-campus living experiences to share, please leave a comment down below!