How do you get involved living off-campus in college?

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Answered by: Chelsea, An Expert in the Life Off Campus Category
TIme for college! For most, this means buying ironic posters, tiny fridges, and lots of microwavable products to stock up their dorm room. For some, lucky ladies and gentlemen, this means buying adult things like furniture and plates and stovetop Ramen for their shiny new apartment or condo. And for a few with...questionable luck, this means putting the new comforter that mom got you on your bed so "it feels just like a new room" and preparing to live at home for the unforeseeable future semesters.

When you live off-campus, especially with mom an dad, it's easy to feel like you are missing part of the real college experience, whatever that is. And honestly, you kind of are missing out--on uncomfortable beds, and roommates hooking up five feet away, and "who the hell ate my Easy Mac!?!" You, my good sir or madam, get to enjoy college from the comfort and privacy of your own bed. It's easy to have the best of both worlds, but it does take a bit of work to get involved living off-campus. In exchange for mom washing and folding your underpants, you probably have to deal with a bit of a commute. And that grown-up apartment means you won't have neighbors who knock on your door at 3 AM for a Taco Bell run.

So where to start?

If it's the first two weeks of school just hang out in public places in between classes. Seriously, it's that easy. Everyone is so eager to start their awesome college life that they want to make awesome college friends, and fast. Just about everyone is scared that they won't make any more friends once they leave high school that most people are super friendly for the first few weeks of college. Sit in the courtyard without an iPod, look inviting, and ask the next potential new friend you see, "Hey, what's your major?" BLAAMO! New friend.

It sounds like common sense but another way to become a legit college kid is to get involved in clubs. If you want to really over-achieve at this whole college experience thing, join a fraternity or sorority. These are probably the most structured, which often means least intimidating, ways to get involved living off-campus.

Another way to ensure that you don't miss out is to treat dorm life like your neighbor's unlocked wifi network: just because you didn't pay for it doesn't mean you can't enjoy its benefits. Simply put, make friends with at least one person who lives on-campus and get yourself invited to their dorm. College, especially freshman year, is like a big slumber party where the rules of personal living space do not apply.

Once you've been to someone's dorm room, you basically have unlimited authorization to text them at any reasonable hour and say 'On my way. We're hanging out'. And it's always nice to have a place to crash on Thursday that makes the hungover commute to class a little less painful.

Seriously, guys, it's that simple to have a college experience worthy of National Lampoon without having to cramp your style and live on-campus.

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