Most college freshmen anticipate living in dorms with shared bathrooms, roommates and close quarters. I, however, will be living off-campus in an apartment. I chose to live off campus for mostly financial and logistical reasons: I need to have a car with me and my school doesn’t allow people living on-campus to buy parking passes. Also, when I did the math, the cost of a dorm with the meal plan would cost more than my rent with an average grocery budget. My father and I were lucky enough to find an apartment for a reasonable price and we jumped on it.
My independent nature prompted me to live alone and I am glad that I haven’t had to deal with the drama of finding the right roommate; however, I do fear that I will isolate myself by living further from campus. I know I will not be able to participate in dorm activities and my proximity from campus will be a hindrance to social timing. This is a scary thought, especially when I know how much I can struggle with finding friends.
These reservations have not swayed me too much. There are many positive aspects to living by myself off-campus. I can cook what I want and decorate however I wish. I can do what I want, when I want and I have my own space to chill and relax. With these exciting prospects, I still need to remember how much more responsibility I must handle. I need to get my own wifi and pay all the bills. I am the only one there to clean the apartment (even the bathroom). Socially, I may struggle, so I know I need to make a real effort to meet others and attend school events.
I do feel like I am missing out on a big part of college. Everyone on my social media pages is excited about getting their roommates and is able to share their worries about dorm life. When I think of college, I do think of the dorms depicted in every college movie I have studied and it is scary to know that I’ll never get that full college experience. Still, I am happy to have my independence and I have always wanted a kitchen and apartment to decorate on my own. Living off-campus comes with many pros and cons, and while I do not yet know how my time living there will be like, I am hopeful that this has been the right decision, even if it means I have to put in a lot of effort to meet others.
Lead image: Derek Flack via Flickr Creative Commons