If you made the decision to live off campus, you’ll most likely always ask yourself if there had been a better option, and to be honest there probably was. But now you’re in it for the long haul, or at least until your lease is up, so make the best of it. (Cause you’re on your own and it gets real out here.) Below you’ll find some tips for living off campus.
Ever spent a weekend away with your best friends and realized you got annoyed after a while? Or maybe it turned out to be the best time of your life. Don’t decide to live with your closest friends just because you’re afraid to try something new. It could weigh heavily on your friendship and end disastrously. Take into account how life was like living on campus as an underclassmen, if you ever did. Everything may have been great when you had a meal plan and no immediate bills to pay, but things change when you ease your way into the real world. At the end of the day, it all comes down to knowing yourself and finding the most comfortable fit.
I have to say this one could be more important than my first tip. Chances are college is the first time you’ll ever move out and live on your own. If you’re out of state you might have to make some tough calls without your mom’s official stamp of approval. Sucks to say but people will try to take advantage of you, whether it be your potential roommates or landlord. Be smart. Ask questions. Weigh your options. Once you figure out what is most important to you it will be easier to make that decision. Never take someone’s word for it. Always go see the place for yourself before agreeing to anything. It will save you a lot of heartache and time.
That being said, if you do plan to move off campus, take advantage of your time and resources. Don’t wait until the last minute and end up in a sketchy situation. This also requires doing research. Money doesn’t grow on trees and even parents sometimes need a heads up. If you are really interested in a place make sure to have your funds allocated and be ready to make that offer. If the place is near your school, chances are you aren’t the only one looking. When comparing prices and fees don’t go based off of what is cheapest but take into account your personal needs/wants.
Location. Location. Location.
Not just where you live, but what you have access to. First, distance from campus should be a priority, even if you drive. Face it, some mornings are rough and if you have a full commute ahead of you, the day may not be as survivable.
Next you must know what is available to you. Is there a grocery store nearby? A subway station? These are all things to think about when looking for a place. There were some listings I didn’t even consider in my apartment hunt because they were just too far from campus.
Learn How To Cook.
That is definitely easier said than done, but I do advise it. Eating out is a luxury and meal plans can be pricey throughout college. Though cooking yourself can be time consuming and trivial, it is healthier and generally more filling. The amount of money you spend on a meal can easily feed you three times over with a simple trip to the grocery store. For my amateurs out there, I suggest starting with pasta. I’m not gonna lie and say you can’t go wrong with pasta, but I will say it is less likely. Speaking of food you may be blessed with a roommate who cooks. Oftentimes you guys can work out a deal with the groceries, or if you know how to cook then you’re already halfway there.
With these tips for living off campus there’s no way you can’t succeed. I promise you. There will be compromise, but I genuinely hope you find the place of your dreams. It can be stressful, but rewarding. So best of luck on your future endeavors.
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Precious Watts hails from Baltimore and is currently a junior at St. John’s University studying journalism and dreaming dreams.