On Campus vs Off Campus: The Pros and Cons of Living Off Campus

By James Jackson
For StudentAdvisor.com

on campus vs off campus living off campusWhen I was a freshman three hours away from home, living on campus was like a fairy tale. With no one peering over your shoulder, you’re free to come and go as you please. As a freshman and a sophomore that was perfect, meeting new people, party- hopping, but after a while it became a chore, especially when the alarm beckoned at 8am after only three or four hours of sleep. This is when I started living off campus and the all the things in life I considered normal quickly returned.

The Pros of Living Off Campus in College

Peace. Ever try to write a paper in the comfort of your own room with German techno music blaring from across the hall? I have. And let me tell you, as a severely introverted individual with a loathing for loud noises, it’s not fun. I’ve long since moved off campus and it was the best possible move for me. Get a couple of quiet roommates, and get some work done, it’ll be like a library in there.

It allows you to lead a more regular life. If your name isn’t Asher Roth, you’ll have to graduate one day. And going from dorm life to work life, I imagine, can’t be natural, and most people need a transition period before heading out to start real life. Living in an apartment off-campus can be that transition period, because it alleviates the stress of ripping and running around the campus all day, and allows you put those quarters for the washing machine to better use, like handing them over to the cashier after you tell her what pump your car is occupying.

The Cons of Living Off Campus in College

Travel. Back and forth, back and forth. As high as gas prices are and I still live about 30 minutes from my own campus, but however inconvenient this may sound, I wouldn’t have it any other way; it just won’t work for everyone.

Disconnect. A huge drawback from being off campus is being disconnected from the daily activities that help make up the “college life” that so many of us have pictured in our heads. I think every college student should know what its like to have their plate filled with a variety of social activities, and staying too far off campus makes that much more difficult.

Landlord. If you’ve never been a resident in an apartment complex, let me tell you firsthand, the rules are more stringent, because more than likely you will live among regular people, with regular jobs that go to sleep at a reasonable hour. And dealing with a landlord, beyond common pleasantries is no fun. Having been kicked out of an apartment for a number of noise complaints in my late teens, I will tell you that finding another place to live with little to no money to your name on short notice is the opposite of a good time.

The lease you sign prior to moving in outlines everything you need to know. You are entering into a business contract that tells you when to pay, how much, what you can and can’t do, and the consequences of the “can’t do” section.

My Advice

First two or three years, stay on campus and soak it up, but I would advise leaving that behind junior or senior year. That will give you some time to “grow up” before you’re sucked into the current, soul-crushing work environment that sadly, the majority of us will enter.

James Jackson is a finance student at Winston-Salem State University. James is also a tech assistant at a law firm and writer of anything that sparks his curiosity. You can follow this increasingly curious mind on Twitter or shoot him an email at jamesjacksn[at]gmail.com.

Photo:  william couch

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