The Pros and Cons of Living Off Campus in First Year

I’m currently in my first year of university and decided against living in residence. My grandparents live relatively close to Laurier, so I chose to live off campus with them. While this is one of the best decisions I have ever made, there are also a few cons (which the pros totally outweigh).

Pro: Has the potential to save A TON of money

In many cases, choosing to live off campus ends up being significantly cheaper than living in residence. If you have a family member willing to open up their home to you that’s perfect, but even finding a reasonable apartment can save you lots of money. Often, apartment leases end up costing less than the residence fees and you aren’t paying thousands of dollars for the meal plan that no one seems to use to the fullest anyway!

Con: Distance can be a factor

There are many opportunities for student housing just minutes from campus, but for me, my grandparent’s house is a good 15-minute drive. While I do have access to a vehicle sometimes, I generally bus to and from school, almost doubling my travel time. This sometimes makes it difficult to get to school for events occurring later in the evening and means that I have to wake up significantly earlier than if I were living on campus.

Pro: You get to choose your roommates

Living off campus means you likely won’t have to live with a person that you’ve just met. You’re able to choose who you live with based on how you get along, and how similar your habits are. You won’t have to worry about being stuck with a roommate you hate for an entire year. You’ll also have more space in an apartment or a house than in those tiny dorm rooms, so if you are feeling bothered by your roommates on a particular day or just need a quiet area to study and get your assignments done, personal space will be much easier to come across.

Con: It can be harder to meet people

Another con I have noticed is that it has been a bit harder for me to get to know people. One of the perks of residence is that you’re around people 24/7.While my classes have allowed me to meet a few close friends, I often find myself spending time by myself after classes and on the weekends.

Pro: You can still get the “residence experience”

People often assume that if you do not live in residence in your first year, you will miss out on a key part of your university experience. However, Laurier has a solution for this! LOCUS, an acronym for Laurier Off-Campus University Students, provides students who have chosen to live off campus with a community much like a floor in a residence building, as well as a don. The LOCUS communities do monthly activities and outings, similar to what residences floors do, and the don is there for support and resources whenever they are needed by their students.