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Ask Colleen: On campus or off

April 26, 2017

Ask Colleen,

I’m currently a sophomore and, as you know, students are required to live on campus for their first two years. Since I’ll be a junior next year, I really wanted to live off campus. 

The residence halls are just not for me, and I don’t like having a resident assistant constantly watching my every move. Yeah, it’s nice to have friends and all, but I think it would be cheaper to live off campus.

The problem is that most of my friends are choosing to stay on campus. If we were going to live on campus, we needed to sign up for housing a while ago. Since I didn’t know what to do, I signed up to live on campus. Basically, I’m conflicted about staying on campus with people I know or moving off campus, where I would probably have to live with random roommates.

Doesn’t know where to live

Doesn’t know where to live,

There is a lot to consider, regardless of if you choose to stay on campus or to move off campus, so keep that in mind when you make your final decision. Obviously, there are pros and cons to each.

It’s completely understandable to not want to live in the residence halls. Yes, it’s super fun to have people around at all times, and I definitely think it keeps students more involved with campus activities. On the flip side, you never really get any space to yourself and, like you said, there is a resident assistant watching over you, which we all know can be pretty annoying when we’re adults and this is the time for us to independent.

The convenience of living on campus is that it’s so close to everything. Plus, our campus is super small and the walk from one end to the other takes 20 minutes tops. Living off campus could mean a little bit of a longer walk, but you have your own living space and most rentals offer a place to park your car. We all know the monstrosity of trying to park on campus. I currently have a parking ticket crumpled up on the floor of my car that I need to pay. Either way, I wouldn’t worry too much about location but rather the logistics of your living situation.

On paper, living on campus does look more expensive, but let me tell you from personal experience they are pretty comparable. On campus cost considers everything. We’re talking about the little things like cable, gas, water, electric, trash services and how could I forget wifi.

When you live on your own, not only do you have to pay rent each month, but you have all of these other expenses to pay for, too. This could either be a good or a bad thing, but living on campus means you can only stay there for the semester you are attending classes. Personally for me, I had a job in Hudson and it just made more sense for me to move off campus for my junior year so I had a place to live during the summer. The plus side to that is that the residence halls don’t bind you into a contract for more than one semester. A lease is usually six months or more and it’s not fun trying to find a subleaser.

From what you’re saying, it seems that you are leaning more toward moving off campus. It’s totally fine if your friends want to stay on campus and for you to go in a different direction. I definitely get your hesitation in leaving the friends that you already have.

But if living off campus is the better option for you, go for it! It’s a completely different experience, and living with a random roommate could open up a bunch of different doors for you. Whatever you do, just make sure to consider the other factors involved. Sometimes it’s not just about preference, but about what fits your situation the best.