A majority of us have been here before. As our first year of college comes to an end, we begin to consider (if we haven’t already signed a lease) where we are going to live out the joys of the sophomore slump. And off-campus apartments seem like the perfect place. Freedom, friends, and no RA? It’s like Heaven on earth!
That is, until we begin to get mad over little things, like our friends slamming the cabinet doors a little too loud. We realize our lack in communication skills when our neighbors blast music well past quiet hours and we have an early test the next morning. We realize that food does not cook itself and dishes do not magically do themselves.
With these things being said, it is also true that off-campus life can be a very positive experience, if you are ready for it.
As a student who has been living on campus my entire college career (two and half of which as a RA), some might feel that this article may be a little biased. Well, I am telling you right now, it is, but not in a bad way. Don’t think that I have never considered the off-campus life and all of its luxuries, but on campus was better for me. Now that we have cleared that up, this article is also here out of care and concern for you, in hoping that you do what is best for you. Let’s go over some of the main reasons I hear people move off-campus and explore those topics a bit. To live on or to leave? That is the question.
Reason number one: staying on campus is too expensive. This is a very understandable and logical reason. With things like tuition going up, adding in the expense of room and board can get pricy. And living off-campus can also get pricy. Rent, food, laundry, car expenses, phone bills and other unforeseen problems can rack up in price after a while of living off-campus. Consider making an estimated budget before making the big leap. This will put things into perspective and help you realize if you can afford off-campus life or not.
Reason number two: you hate your RA and all the rules in the residence halls. Understandable. But, put this into consideration: once you move off-campus, that RA you hated now becomes the Fort Collins Police. I heard they also do write-ups, but they are called fines and usually leave your pockets a little lighter.
Oh, and those noisy neighbors and messy roommates? These are situations that put your communication skills to the test when there is no RA on duty to call or to help fill out roommate contracts. Make sure that these are things you think about before moving off-campus. Not only do you want to be a good neighbor and roommate, but I am sure you want the same out of your own neighbors and roommates. How are you going to make sure this happens? I would suggest utilizing some of the skills and rules put in place by the RAs and residence halls. I mean, after all, we are here for a reason (and you have to admit, some of those programs the RAs put on included food that gave you a much needed break from the dining halls).
And from that, our next reason: the dining halls. You don’t have to tell me twice. After three and half years, you just start to get creative. Think of how wonderful it will be to be able to pick out and cook your own food. To make delicious things off Pinterest and invite all your friends over to enjoy them.
Oh wait, you can’t cook? You don’t even know how to boil water? You just got home from class and you are too tired to even watch someone else cook food on TV? Unless you want to survive off Ramen and hot dogs for a year, take some time to learn some basic cooking skills before leaving campus. Also, take some time to go through newspaper ads and see the actual cost of food. Nobody wants to be distracted in class by your growling stomach, so you might also consider investing in an off-campus meal plan.
I can go on and on on why I feel one should stay on campus, but ultimately the choice is yours. This is a big, grown-up decision you are making here, so instead of scrolling down without reading the terms and conditions like you do for iTunes, make sure you read your lease thoroughly and even take it over to Student Legal Services to make sure everything is clear. If you do make the choice to leave, make sure that you leave on good terms with some of the people staying on campus. They will come in handy with those extra meal swipes.
Moving off-campus is a big decision that takes consideration.
Make sure you are financially and mentally ready if you decide to do so.
STAY ON CAMPUS!