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10 Things to Know Before Living Off Campus

todayAugust 15, 2015 19

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by Daniela Garcia
Blog Content Contributor

As you may know, it isn’t simple to transition from a high school senior to a freshman in college, let alone in a city that is possibly not your own. What could be even more confusing and intimidating is the fact that you may have to consider living off campus, after experiencing the dorm life.

Personally, I never had the luxury of experiencing the dorm life,  but close friends have uttered their fair share of remarks over how sometimes things won’t work out the way you first imagined them. You may end up with a roommate or several that you don’t particularly hate but don’t particularly like. Or, the universe may just conspire in favor of you and throw a few good life-long friends your way. However, the time may come when you start to get a little bit older and your concern for privacy and mid-century decor is at its peak.

Here are a few things you may want to know in advance to prepare for your second year as a college student after having a great kick-off year as a freshman.

Apartment off campus
Photo by Daniela Garcia
  1. With great power comes…great responsibility. We can’t avoid the bills, unless we go off-grid, but that would be somewhat difficult to do to be able to arrive to class on time. So, while you’re staying on campus, possibly without any vehicle, you can try to save up for future bill that you’re not sure financial aid (if any) will cover. It’s a very good game plan to have an emergency fund. Don’t touch the fund until it’s time. But don’t worry! If you look carefully enough, you might find yourself a place for which most utilities are combined with the rent or paid for by the tenant.
  2. Do your research. We might get caught up in the rush of the semester or the leisurely time floating atop the river then fail to realize we’re short in time to look for a new place to live. So you go for the first place that looks decent. A few months down the road you’ll realize this was a bad idea because now you’re experiencing the practically non-existent half-a-foot long balcony and roommates that make you never want to step out of your room.
  3. Declutter. It’s easy to forget how much stuff starts piling up inside your closet that when it’s time to pack up and go, you wound up on the floor curled into a ball because you can’t handle how much junk there is to get rid of. So, throughout the semester and as the semester end approaches, make an attempt to rid yourself of unnecessary junk. This will make the moving process easier because you won’t have to get that extra moving box to mark “miscellaneous…”
  4. Look Ahead. If you’re planning on living with roommates, you may want to find out who the contenders are beforehand. This way, you may get a general idea of whether you should stash your food in your room mini-fridge or not have to worry about a thing because they seem to respect other people’s privacy/possessions. If the agents down at the office hand you their names, try looking for them on social media. As crazy as it may sound, it’s actually a good way to be in contact with your prospective living arrangement and letting them know, “Hey, I’m John Smith and I’m a nice guy. We should get along.”
  5. Learn How to Cook. So you no longer live on campus and didn’t end up getting a meal plan because you thought you could survive on ramen noodles and pizza. You may feel the bloat and you want something different like a full hearty meal. Well, you can start off small. You don’t necessarily have to purchase a membership at Sam’s Club and buy pizza bagels in bulk because odds are, you’ll have little space to fill in that compact fridge for four. Purchase the things you know you will consume and need. Milk, cereal, eggs perhaps?
  6. List the things you need. Write. It. Down. Before. You. Forget.
  7. Be friends with your neighbors. Okay so you really don’t want to talk to anyone but it’s almost your 21st and you finally have your own place so you’d like to throw a party. If you take the time to get to know your neighbors and provide a friendly face, they might offer the ultimate peace offering, letting you enjoy your party without worrying about noise complaints. But of course this step comes once you’ve just settled in.
  8. Budget. No more room and board expenses that practically depletes your financial aid source, hooray! But you do have rent every month now so you’ll have to be careful with your money. There’s a handy little app called Mint that links all of your bank accounts into a financial summary and emails you when something comes up. You also get to see how much you’ve spent on what which is pretty great don’t you think?
  9. Job-Hunt. Unfortunately, financial aid will not always cover the costs of living and other expenses. So if you’re the type to enjoy splurging on clothes, going out, drinks at the square, it would perhaps be wise to consider a part-time job to keep your funds at a reasonable level.
  10. Don’t underestimate living off campus. This sounds a bit scary but I mean well. Yes you will have newly-added responsibilities and things may be a little rough at the beginning but the freedom is rewarding. Soon you’ll be able to add to your portfolio of Adulting. Before you know it, you’ve done it, you’ve done adulting. *sigh*

Time sure does fly, doesn’t it?

Stay cool, bobcats and eat ‘em up!

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