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  • A young college woman holding her arms up standing in front of her bed and desk in her off-campus apartment room.

    Making the Move to Off-Campus Living

    Melody Kong

    You’re in the second semester of your first year of college and it’s been a blast. You’ve made friends, lived on campus, enjoyed the food, did well in classes, and joined a bunch of clubs. But like every other college student, you want to save money. You come up with this genius idea to save money by living off campus the next semester, as you’ve heard it’s relatively cheaper. Problem is, you don’t know where to start. This was me in March of my freshman year, I have now moved to housing off campus! Super exciting, I know. But how did I get here? What is the must-dos, must don’ts, tips, and tricks of off campus housing? While only a few months have passed since then, I believe I have some insight as someone who’s been there and done that – as in having lived in the dorms as well as off campus.

    Find Roommates Early

    Look in Facebook groups, ask friends, ask parents to contact friends – just use your resources! There are people always looking for roommates. It’s not only important to find your roommates but also communicate with them your needs and concerns. I didn’t communicate enough with my potential roommates, and by the time summer came, we were all too busy doing our own things to discuss where we wanted to live and other miscellaneous details. This led to one of the roommates not living with us and me not having housing near campus for 2 weeks. I ended up crashing at my friend’s apartment for those weeks, and while not terrible, it’s nice to have your own space.

    Looking For a Place to Live

    I didn’t even start thinking about housing for my 2nd year until March of my freshman year, but I would highly recommend starting to think about this in January. It may seem early, but housing options fill up fast. If you spend most of your time on campus and are just looking for a place to live, explore the possibility of renting out a room in a rental house or finding friends to possibly rent a house or apartment. Think about how close you want or need to be from campus. If you want convenience, student apartment complexes near campus can be a good choice as those are usually closer, have more amenities, and may provide bus transportation to and from campus.

    Be Picky

    Since you’re moving into a new place, you get to decide what you want or don’t want. If you’re a more outgoing person, you may want another extravert to talk to, or if you’re an introvert, you may rather keep your own space and have time to yourself. Know what you value when it comes to money, other people, cleanliness, food, the list goes on, and be decisive!

    These are just a few things I have learned through my first month living off campus. While it can seem daunting to even start the process, I think it is definitely worth it! Although my commute is about 20 minutes, I love having my own room at the fraction of the cost. Through this whole process, I have learned skills that will be useful if I decide to have a house of my own in the future. I had to navigate the application process, communicate with roommates, and manage utilities. I had to learn (and am still learning) time management in commuting to and from school. These skills are applicable to the real world as well and open your eyes to the different needs and wants of others. Off-campus housing has its irks, but the end results are worth the hassle.

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