What is Living Off Campus like?

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Answered by: Emily, An Expert in the Life Off Campus Category
A Glimpse into Living off Campus

It's the one part of college that every freshman alike has to cope with, the one part of leaving home that is unanimously known as a hurtle that has to be jumped: living in a dorm room. Incoming students focus so heavily on what life will be like once they transform their lifestyle from living in the comforts of their home, to sharing a small space with a stranger and being confined to a single small living space. Relatives and friends alike give students graduation gifts and money to stalk their dorms, and much of the time before entrance into a university is spent shopping for supplies to make the tiny little space feel a bit more homey.

However, after a few weeks of calibration to this new lifestyle, it is usually one of the most memorable and likable time spent in college. It is what happens after dorm life, that is much less talked about, and often just as much of a learning curve. Living off campus is the single most character-defining facet that college students experience, and it often comes as a lofty surprise.

Usually, after a year of dorm life, students cannot wait to expand their living quarters and independence to a more grown up, off campus living space. These most commonly include apartments, townhouses, and homes near the school that are passed down through generations of students year after year, and are more often than not beat down, dirty, and "full of character". Living off campus exudes a charm that is irresistable to those coming from dorm life, and provides the most accurate picture of what independence after college will actually resemble.

Unlike life on campus, there are no rules and regulations aside from the contract that the landlord has issued and expects to be upheld. There are no curfews, designated quiet hours, and no RAs or RDs checking the halls to make sure nothing illegal is happening. The cafeteria is no longer accessible, and the hustle and bustle of campus is no longer knocking at the door, luring students to come out and participate. This is when teenagers and young adults get a taste of what it is like to be, well, a grown up. There are no custodians to keep living quarters clean, no landscapers to keep a tidy lawn or shovel a snowy driveway, and no maintenance men down the hall to help with a broken faucet or perform regular maintenance checks. Time and money management is officially taken off of the shoulders of the school and handed to the student.

People will learn what it is like to live with multiple roommates, or to live alone. They will discover daily tasks that are important to them, and tasks that are not. They will have to determine how they will stay full, healthy, and socially connected all on their own. Living off campus is tricky, in that students suddenly acquire all of the freedom they have been promised, yet have little training about what to do with it. However, aside from the initial jump from home to dorm, dorm to off campus is also one of the most cherished experiences that young people will go through. They will struggle, and fight, and if they are lucky they will fail in small ways over and over again. It is a learning curve of life that should be experienced by all who leave their parent's nest.

By graduation, students who have lived off campus and away from home have a leg up on everyone else. They have begun to formulate the type of life they will live, and have become comfortable dealing with the uncomfortable, unforeseen challenges and mishaps that occur in everyday real life. The transformation from a dorm resident to an off campus resident is huge, and in the end is one of the greatest gifts aside from academic success that college can give.

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