Create a healthy transition to living off-campus
Even though classes at many U.S. universities will be virtual this Fall semester, students are still moving back and may be transitioning from living on-campus to moving elsewhere off-campus. While there is no clear formula for optimal success in adjusting to the change, here are a few tips and tricks that can help students live a happy, healthy, and efficient life in their off-campus residences.
Choose the right housemates
Selecting the right people to live with is objectively the most important factor to consider when moving off campus. Living with people you clash with will make your residence feel less like a home and more like a battleground. On the other hand, living with your best friends may not be ideal if you get easily distracted and are unable to create boundaries. Ultimately, the ideal housemate is someone you get along well with but recognizes that there are times for fun and times for productivity.
Learn to grocery shop and cook for yourself
One of my favorite aspects about living in a house is that I can shop and cook for myself. Until I moved off-campus, I had no idea how much I enjoyed visits to the grocery store. Cooking for yourself allows you to be in complete control of your diet and nutrition, as you are no longer bound to dining hall meals. To make cooking healthy and entertaining, I try to experiment with at least one new main ingredient and recipe each week.
Consider your commute
Sometimes living a short commute away from campus is unavoidable. Figuring out how to get to class each day can sometimes be stressful. While each situation is different, many options for transportation exist. Some may prefer a more active method like biking, while others may be more attuned to driving or taking public transportation. If you choose to drive, then carpooling is a great option. Whether with roommates or other off-campus residents, coordinating schedules to carpool can be very beneficial.
Find your study spot
One of the most challenging aspects with living away from campus is figuring out where your ideal study location is. For some, it may be as simple as a kitchen table. Others may prefer the outdoors or local coffee shops. Some may even decide they are most productive on campus at the library. Having a few spots where you are comfortable studying and rotating between them helps to boost your productivity outside of a traditional learning space.
There is no singular formula for how to be successful when living away from campus. It ultimately comes down to each individual’s habits and personal preferences, and likely some trial and error. I hope these tips prove to be helpful for anyone making the transition into off-campus housing and creating a happy, healthy lifestyle outside of a traditional dorm.