The Best Advice for Living Off-Campus

As a collegiette living off-campus at my small liberal arts college, I realize that it can be difficult for many students to do just the same.  However, sometimes living off-campus is just an all-around better situation for some students.  So, if you’ve been thinking about making the switch and moving out of the dorms and ditching dining hall meal plans, here are some tips on how to survive not only that transition--  but making it last to graduation.

1. Maintain a part-time job, if you can. 

I know that for some students, a job during school just isn’t feasible.  Whether it’s your class schedule, your general work load, or extra-curriculars, sometimes it just doesn’t work out.  But-- if you can figure out how, having a job is extremely helpful for making that off-campus living transition.  Try something as simple as waitressing a few days a week at a nice restaurant; that’s what I’m doing, and I make very good tips.  Plus, the restaurant is a hop, skip, and jump from campus.

2. Shop for groceries the right way. 

One of the best pieces of advice I can give off-campus college student is to use coupons when buying. Better yet, your local or regional grocery store will probably even have special markdowns and prices for some items that are going out of stock or being discontinued.  In Buckhannon, WV, we have a Kroger, which is pretty popular here is the eastern U.S.  I live in the “manager’s special” sections of that store, where I’ve found everything from reduced price vegetables that are still in great shape to bags of Starbucks coffee.   

3. Allow yourself travel time you didn't need living on campus.

If your school is anything like mine, then you have the option of waiting until 7:50 to roll out of bed for that 8 a.m. class while living on-campus.  That’s a huge bonus of the smaller campuses that I’ll always love-- but, once you move out, that travel time suddenly becomes a lot more important. Are you planning to walk? Bike? Drive?

Any way you plan to do it, make sure you set that alarm clock back a little farther for some extra traveling time.  

Whether you decide to live on or off your school’s campus, I hope you do whatever makes you happy and helps you grow the most.



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