8 Struggles Of Living Off Campus In College

8 Struggles Of Living Off Campus In College

From commuting daily to paying monthly bills, there are some serious cons to consider when choosing to live off campus during college.

Living off campus while earning your college degree is often cheaper than living on campus nowadays, so it’s no surprise that most college students opt to rent an apartment or house with friends off campus. Living off campus provides students with less restrictions and more freedoms. However, living off campus can come with some serious drawbacks, too.

1. Commuting.

Unless you can get your classes to all line up consecutively one after the other (which is basically impossible unless you’re God), you could be looking at spending quite a large portion of your free time behind the wheel of your vehicle, especially if you're in a bigger city. Better work on creating a rockin' playlist to head bang to while you’re sitting at that red light for the next 10 minutes.

2. Feeling disconnected.

Since you're not where all of the hustle and bustle is at, you have to make more of an effort to stay involved on campus. Staying on top of all of the activities and events your college campus has to offer can be tricky because you’re not physically living there. Joining a club, participating in an intramural sport, getting a job on campus, and becoming involved with greek life are all effective ways to keep one foot on campus, even if the other one is off.

3. So. Many. Distractions.

If you thought it was easy to get distracted when you were living on campus, being off campus is definitely a million times worse. You’re physically apart from the learning environment that a college campus provides and it’s not nearly as easy to make a midnight trip to the library when you’re halfway across town rather than a few steps away from your dorm room. Distractions that are heavily monitored or altogether restricted on college campuses such as partying and underage drinking, are usually fair game in off campus dwellings. So if you’re rooming with friends off campus, just make sure your roommates know not to throw a raging party complete with strobe lights and eardrum-demolishing music the night before you have to take your anatomy and physiology final.

4. Bills.

Not that living on campus is typically free, but living on campus means you aren’t responsible for paying monthly electricity, water, air conditioning/heating, and other utility bills. One of the reasons most colleges require freshmen to live on campus, aside from the fact that they like to make money at every given opportunity, is that college is stressful — plain and simple. Adding the additional worry of remembering to pay bills each month can add even more stress onto a student’s shoulders. On the bright side, living off campus will prepare you better for entering the real world post-graduation, so don’t be too bitter that your wallet seems to be perpetually empty.

5. Cooking for yourself.

Chances are, if you’re living off campus, you’re most likely not paying for a college meal plan (or you have the meal plan that offers the bare minimum). If you happen to be a culinary genius, than this is probably not even a drawback for you. However, for the rest of us, this means that we will likely suffer through a few cases of food poisoning and some late-night runs to good ol’ McDonald’s after accidentally burning frozen pizza and setting off all the fire alarms in our entire apartment complex (and realizing you definitely could’ve lived the rest of your life without seeing your landlord in his heart-patterned boxers). The college cafeteria food may not always be the most appetizing, but the fact that you don’t have to lift a finger to make it is pretty appealing.

6. Neighbors.

Now I know that not all relationships between college students living off campus and neighbors are like the relationship between Zac Efron and Seth Rogen in the movie Neighbors, but there is something to be said about neighbors who aren’t pursuing a degree in college. You may have to be extra cautious of your sound level or hosting parties if you live off-campus because your neighbors may be a young family with an infant or an elderly woman who happens to be very inclined to call the police on you at every given opportunity. Being aware of who your neighbors are and dealing with their wishes may be important in order to avoid conflict with them.

7. Landlords.

Most colleges’ housing departments will allow you to switch dorms and roommates if issues arise throughout the year, and the perform maintenance/repairs upon request and as needed. In an apartment or rental house, you will have the pleasure of dealing with your landlord instead. Though there are many friendly and helpful landlords out there, some may not be so eager to communicate and cooperate politely with you, or fulfill maintenance requests. Be prepared to be polite, yet assertive when speaking with your landlord if you choose to rent an apartment or house off campus, and remember to always read the terms of your lease carefully.

8. Taking everything with you.

Since you have to commute to all of your classes, you likely have to bring all of the stuff you’ll need for the day with you since there may not be enough time between your classes to make the commute back to your apartment or house. You will have to have all the books for your classes with you, and use what gaps of time you do have between your classes to do homework, study, and eat. You might feel like you’re back in elementary school lugging around a backpack bigger than the state of Texas, but at least you won't be making 8934849 zillion trips back and forth between your apartment or house and campus each day. On a positive note, at least you'll get a workout hauling around all of your stuff on a day-to-day basis.

Overall, living off campus has some serious cons, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some pleasant pros, too! Living off campus is very beneficial to becoming more self-sufficient and independent, which will prepare you more efficiently for the world of adulthood and post-graduation living. Buying groceries, paying bills, cooking, cleaning, and learning how to be responsible, in general, are all tasks you’ll eventually have to learn to do regardless of whether you live on campus or not during your college years, but being off campus can give you a substantial head-start. Not to mention, it can save you some serious cash when it comes to paying off college debt! Cha-ching.

Cover Image Credit: College Tourist

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.

The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:

“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:


When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:

"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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The One Thing Everyone Should Do Before They Graduate

Why I wish everyone could have shared in my end of school adventure.


The end of freshman year was filled with the abundant stress of final exams, teary-eyed goodbyes, and last looks at my dorm room on South Campus. The academic year was overwhelmingly busy, and I tried my best to soak in every single moment as a first-year college student. But as I'm sure many of you can understand, it's not always possible to make time for the adventures we so desperately desire. I found myself saying "I want to do that!" all year long, and here it was the last week of the year and my bucket list had barely been touched. All those Philadelphia excursions, dreamy coffee shop dates, and campus explorations that I looked forward to never ended up panning out…

… until last Thursday night.

With about half the freshman class moved out of South Campus, everything felt a little strange. There was barely a dinner rush at all in Donahue Dining Hall, and my room looked so empty it almost made me sad. Naturally, I called up a couple of friends. Within minutes, we met in the lounge, and we were off for our adventure.

Every single day on the way to labs in Mendel Hall, I walked past the beloved Falvey Fountain. It had become such a consistent part of my routine that walking past it felt like it was a necessary daily occurrence. But this time, we didn't walk past. In fact, we stopped dead in our tracks and admired its color changing beauty for a brief moment.

And then we dove in!

Yes, we jumped right into the fountain. First the daring adventurer of the group, then his sidekick, then the skeptic, and finally myself. This was definitely not allowed, but no one was around, and more importantly, no one cared. Being knee deep was freezing, but the adrenaline rush was too much to suppress. So we submerged further, dunking each other and splashing the icy water literally everywhere. My wet hair made way for the most epic hair flip of all time, and we all laughed joyously.

All the stress of looming final grades and the completion of projects, the bittersweet goodbyes to our newfound families, and the hassles of packing up for the year were washed away in that fountain, drowned in the euphoria of the moment. We were officially baptized in summer as it dubbed us the kings and queens of adventure.

Afterward, we wrung out our soaking clothes and snapped a quick pic of our drenched selves. Trying to escape the scene hastily, I dropped my bag of M&M;'s. They spilled everywhere, leaving streams of melty chocolate and food coloring running through the aftermath of our fountain dive. The scene looked like a bit of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory had exploded from the fountain and into the night.

I am far from kidding when I say that adventure is a must for everyone, at any stage of life. Whether it's fountain diving at Nova, or sky diving in New Mexico, something about us as human beings needs the unusual, exciting, and even hazardous experiences. This one was particularly cleansing and absolutely unforgettable.

So I implore you: go forth this summer and be adventurous! Explore hidden places, try new eats, shuffle a stranger's playlist, introduce yourself to someone on a whim, or just get in the car and drive with no destination in mind. This summer is for the bold; this summer's for you.

Happy adventuring!


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