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Photo of the interior of a cottage
Photo of the interior of a cottage
Original photo by Laura Cameron

Transitioning from Apartment Living to House Living

How moving into a college house made us “grow up” 

My sophomore year of college I lived in a high-rise apartment building with four of my closest friends. We were all nervous to be moving out of the dorms and into a space that was completely ours. However, after a week or two we became comfortable with our little apartment, and actually began to prefer it over the dorm (not surprising). 

When Halloween rolled around sophomore year and everyone on campus was forced to start searching for their next dwelling, my friends and I began to stress. We eventually had to make the decision whether to stay or try to find a new place to live. We did some searching around, and found a couple of nice houses in the area. Right before Halloween, we signed the lease for our first college house! Signing the document felt like locking ourselves into an agreement we weren’t quite sure about. All we knew was that we just agreed to live in a three story house with four more of our closest friends (yes, that’s a total of nine girls all under one roof)! 

Once we moved into our house the summer before junior year, we quickly realized that we had a lot more responsibilities. First, we had to pay for more than just rent. This included paying for gas, electricity and wifi. We also had to start making financial decisions. For example, our house is not air conditioned, so once we all moved in we were struck by the realization that we were living in a house that was consistently 80 degrees. We had to (quickly) calculate how much an air conditioner would cost per month and then decide if that was a fiscally responsible decision. In the end, of course, we decided that the air conditioner was a must-have. 

Another big thing that we definitely took advantage of in our apartment was safety. We felt safe living in a locked apartment building six floors above the lobby; however, once we moved into our house, it was easy to feel unsafe with old windows and doors accessible from the sidewalk. With this problem came new responsibility, so now we always check to make sure all windows and doors on the ground floor are locked before we go to bed. We’ve grown to feel safe in our house as a result. 

Living in both an apartment and a house off-campus can seem like a daunting task. Transitioning from living in a high-rise apartment to a three-story house can also be scary. However, if you surround yourself with supportive roommates who are willing to grow with you, then you have nothing to worry about. Since being at college, I’ve learned that sometimes the scariest decisions push you to grow and change into the person you’re meant to become.

Abby Winterburn is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison intending to major in Journalism. Upon acceptance into the J-School, she will be working towards a degree in Strategic Communication with a certificate in Digital Studies. On her free time she likes to hang around with friends, visit local coffee shops, and listen to her favorite band Mumford and Sons.
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