Living off campus can be an exciting adventure for some students. The off campus residence may be the first real independent-living situation of their lives. Some people revel in their newfound independence by engaging in a variety of lifestyle adventures. Others recognize that independent living does next exempt them from school obligations or the responsibilities of living on one’s own. Most people attempt to strike a balance between freedom and conscientiousness so that they can develop habits for their future life. Here are a few thoughts on what people should know about living off campus for the first time.
Can’t we all just get along?
Whenever people live together, there is the potential for conflict. Sometimes people have conflict because of particular personalities and other times it is due to the environment, such as the confined spaces of a college residence hall. There can be a temptation amongst off campus students to assume that some of these conflicts will go away once everyone has some space and independence. Some conflicts may resolve themselves, but students should not assume that they will all disappear. In addition, the student should not assume that there will be no conflicts just because they picked their off campus roommates. Close friends can still fight, so people should be prepared for some level of disagreement.
Some students who move off-campus for the first time can experience serious “sticker” shock due to the cost of living independently. For most of their lives they may not have paid for rent (including first and last months and deposits), food, gas, various utilities, renters insurance, and household maintenance. Living independently may be exciting but it can also be a frightening experience when certain bills come due and the bank account is not exactly flush with cash. Therefore, students should be aware of their financial situation and their ability to afford living expenses before embarking out into the wide world.
Lifestyles and temptations
Another thing to keep in mind is that students may be exposed to a variety of environmental and social situations in off campus living. As mentioned, it can be exciting to be “free”, but students still have to get up and go to class, manage their time, be good neighbors, and make lifestyle choices that will help with their schooling. Some students can be tempted to “live it up” when they get off campus by having a variety of friends over and planning a number of activities. Again, this can be part of the fun, but they also have to be sensitive to roommates, neighboring houses and apartments, and general impact on school success. In addition, social gathering add up financially, which can put an addition strain on the college budget.
Creature comforts and easy access
Finally, people have to keep in mind that living off campus has its benefits but it also has its drawbacks. Some people really enjoy the off campus experience initially, but find that some of the newness wears off over time. Driving to school can be a hassle, splitting up and paying the bills can be a chore, and cleaning a larger dwelling can be a pain. Living on campus may also mean the surrender of certain freedoms. However, the on campus student also has easier access to lot of things that can be helpful to the daily lifestyle.
Being a grown-up is overrated sometimes
Overall, the off campus experience is one more step in the maturing process of the individual. The best advice to give a new off campus student is to tell them that it will not be exactly what they are anticipating. In addition, students must exercise some level of wisdom when it comes to dealing with their independence and freedom. There is fun to be had in an off campus living situation, but there are still consequences to certain actions and lifestyle choices.