So you just signed the lease with a few of your best college buddies and you’re looking forward to your first year living off campus. First, congratulations! It’s an exciting time and a huge step towards becoming an adult. Second, I was in your position just two short years ago. I learned a couple of things from the experience so here is some advice I can share:
Nothing was better in the residence halls than having all of your friends so close by. It will be difficult at first to go from having dinner with your floor mates every night to seeing only a few of them a couple times a week. You’ll get used to it as you figure out everyone’s new schedules and where they all live. Also, don’t be afraid to make new friends in your new place. Chances are you aren’t the only person living off campus for the first time.
- Be responsible
Another great thing about the residence halls was not having to worry about paying bills. Although many off campus properties include utilities, there are many more responsibilities that come with this new living situation. Keeping the place clean can be tricky with multiple roommates. Do your part and if someone isn’t pitching in, tell them. Nobody likes passive-aggressiveness! Also, don’t let your longer walk (or drive) to class become an excuse not to attend lectures. As mentioned before, moving off campus is a big step in the “adulting” process. Your future boss wouldn’t take this excuse so always try to make it to your classes even if it means setting an extra alarm or two.
- Who’s bringing the couch?
This is a big one. With more room to spread out, you’ll need a few more items to make your place feel like home. Besides the obvious couch and TV for the living room, don’t forget about your own space. Whether you get a new bed for your place or take the one from your parents’ house, make sure the bed is comfortable and fits the room well. Although a California King size mattress is nice, it’s not always the most practical. Another thing that I always recommend to students making the transition to off campus living is a good speaker. With my love for music and recent discovery of many great podcasts on Spotify, nothing beats relaxing with friends and great music in the background.
- Alone time
One of the biggest issues I had while living at the residence halls was that there wasn’t anywhere that I could go to be by myself or with my significant other. Living off campus gives you the freedom to just go into your own space and relax as often as necessary. This is one of the biggest reasons why people want to move off campus as soon as they can. When living with others, alone time is always important. Whether you spend it studying or binge-watching Netflix is up to you.
- Be respectful
So you took my advice and got that awesome speaker that can shake the pictures off your walls? Do your roommates and neighbors a favor and keep the volume at a respectful level. Nothing is more annoying than when you’re trying to sleep but your wonderful neighbor won’t stop blasting that new Migos track. Be respectful of the things inside the house as well. If you accidentally break that lamp that your roommate brought for the living room, tell them, or fix it. Avoiding these situations will only make your living arrangements awkward and unenjoyable.
With this advice, I hope you learned a few new things and that your off campus living experience is the best it can be. Have fun and good luck!