I have lived in the res halls and in an off-campus apartment during my college career here.

 

It’s that time of year again; the leaves are falling, the pumpkin lattes are brewing and house leases are being signed!

While it may seem a little daunting to already be thinking about living plans for next year, it’s important to weigh your options before you make a final decision. As a senior, here are some of the pros and cons to living on and off campus that I have picked up over my years in school.

On-Campus: The Pros…

1. Close to EVERYTHING

Want to roll out of bed 10 minutes before class? Or how about walking one building over for a delicious dinner? One of the sweetest benefits of living on-campus is being conveniently located in the hub of all campus happenings. No matter what residence hall you are in, you’re so close to the many amenities that campus offers. And come wintertime, you’ll be so glad you only have to walk out in the polar vortex for a minimum amount of time.

2. Always Something to Do and People to be With

If you walk down the hall of a residence building, you’ll see endless flyers, posters and pictures begging for your attention.  More often than not, these pieces of paper are promoting FREE events in the hall with FREE food. When you live on-campus, there are so many different activities in the res halls and in the academic buildings. Plus, there is always someone who would want to come to these events with you!

3. Fewer Worries

After a long day of classes, meetings and work, the last thing you want to do is drive to the store for some much-needed groceries for dinner. Or having to debate if it’s worth turning the heat up in the house or just putting on yet another sweatshirt. When you live on campus, it’s hakuna matata– there are no worries. There are no bills to pay, trash to take out to the curb or shoveling of the driveway.

… and Cons

1. Lots of Shared Space

With so many people in one building, it can be difficult sometimes to find a little privacy. You’re constantly sharing spaces with others including study areas, bathrooms and even your bedroom. While this does just take a little patience, it can be challenging to find some time alone in a residence hall.

 

2. Smaller or Double Rooms

While it’s not forever, it is a little trying to share all of your living space with another person. Although you can opt for a single room, many students share a room with another student. Stress levels can run a little high if you’re constantly bumping elbows with another person.

 

3. More Distractions

Because there are so many different things happening in the residence halls and on campus, it may be pretty easy to get distracted from your studies. It’s hard to watch other people having fun on a Wednesday night while you stay in your room finishing a last-minute paper. Living on campus can be difficult because hanging out with your friends down the hall is much more appealing than working on homework by yourself.

 

Off-Campus: The Pros…

1. Independence

Paying bills, grocery shopping and balancing checkbooks; you’re a real adult now! Living off-campus gives you real-life experience and, for many students, their first real taste of adulthood. While this may be stressful to some, others thrive in the independence that off-campus housing offers.

 

2. Privacy

Your own room and bathroom?! Score! When you rent an off-campus house or apartment, students often get their own rooms and living spaces. It’s easier to stay up late studying or catching up on a Netflix marathon without having to consider whether you’re keeping your roommate up. It’s also nice to keep your shower items in the bathroom instead of lugging them back and forth every morning.

 

3. Learn Responsibility

While living off-campus can be overwhelming at times, it’s also a great experience for students to have before they graduate. It’s a practice run of making your own meals, paying for utilities and ensuring that your house is in working order. Living-off campus can be a confidence boost of responsibility.

 

…and Cons

1. Lots of Responsibility

On the flipside, living off campus is A LOT OF RESPONSIBILITY. Meaning you cannot be late paying your rent or electric bill. And you have to make sure you buy enough food to last you for the week (while still making healthy choices, of course). And on top of it all, you need to keep up with your studies. So, while it may be nice to have so much independence off-campus, it can be burden with all of the day-to-day tasks you need to take care of.

 

2. More Expenses

While it may seem cheaper to pay a monthly bill for renting a place off-campus, the smaller bills add up quickly. Heat, electricity, trash pick-up, water, and Internet are often separate from rent payment and these necessities can add up quickly. Of course, many roommates split these bills, but then there is the typical IOU if someone doesn’t have the money right away. This can be both draining for your patience and your wallet.

 

3. A Little Isolating

Living off-campus is great when you’re with your best friends all the time. However, it’s hard to feel very involved on campus if you see the same people over and over. It can feel a little lonely sometimes when you walk home from the busy campus to your quiet house every night. You may also not know about as many activities happening on campus because you are only there for classes during the day. Suddenly, solitary Netflix marathons seem to feel a little lonely…

Hopefully this helps, my fellow Warriors, as you make your living plans for next year! Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor during this time!

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Melissa VanGrinsven

Melissa graduated in 2015 with BA in Mass Communication and Independent Studies minor. She is from Savage, MN and her hobbies include reading Karen Kingsbury novels, writing short stories and her personal blog --melissagraceinprogress.blogspot.com-- taking beautiful pictures, drinking iced coffee (with a shot of white chocolate, please), listening to country music, pinning marathons on her Pinterest page.

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