I decided to move off-campus because I wanted, like, some privacy and I was tired of being constantly surrounded by hustlin' and bustlin' college kids. I'm an old soul. I also thought it would be a good experience to have before I graduate and go off into the real adult world. Overall, I have to say it was a great decision and I really enjoy having a place away from the campus to escape to at the end of the day. (Although, usually I get home after midnight, so really it's the next day...) Over time, I have experienced some of the inconveniences of living off-campus, but I think the benefits outweigh the downsides and I've learned a lot about living by yourself.
Thus, I have decided to impart some of my wisdom on my fellow peers who are considering living off-campus in this guide. Take it with a grain of salt as it is based on my personal experience.
1. Skip the desk (maybe).
I was extremely excited when I got a nice, solid desk for free. One of my justifications for moving off campus was that I would study and focus more without the distractions of socializing on campus. I had so much ambition and thought, I'm finally gonna get my act together and I'm gonna be so organized and so productive, etc. Yeah... no. I'm still a mess. All three of us who live in the apartment have desks, but we all almost never use them to study. I mainly use mine to "store" things, so I may as well have just gotten a dresser. You're more likely to end up studying at your dining table, couch, or bed (beware), or just on campus. This brings me to my next lesson...
2. You won't be in your apartment as much as you think.
I thought my schedule was going to be simple: I go to class, I come home, and I stay home until the next morning. I also thought I would spend my weekends cleaning my apartment, recovering from the week, and just getting my life together. Life is never simple. Almost every evening I have some practice or study session or whatever event and I end up staying on campus until midnight. Even though you may want to spend a lot of time in your apartment (since you're paying for it!), your apartment will most likely be just a place for you to sleep.
3. Cooking is actually really fun.
Surprisingly, I turned out to not be as lazy about cooking for myself or as bad of a cook as I feared. I do cook more than my roommates, so maybe it's just my personal disposition. Cooking for yourself gives you this sense of satisfaction and somehow makes your food taste better. Also, I cook less than I expected because I often end up eating out or on-campus for one reason or another. So, if you're dreading how much you'd have to cook: Remember, it's not that bad and you probably won't do it that much.
4. Make sure you have an on-campus refuge.
Shoutout to my friends who let me take naps during the day in their room or stay overnight after drinking almost whenever I want. One of the greatest inconveniences of living off-campus is that you have to drive (or use whatever other form of transport) to get home and this poses two important challenges: Where do I nap between classes? and Where do I sleep when I've been drinking? If you don't want to be awkwardly napping in the library where people will definitely judge you, find an on-campus buddy that will let you crash when one of these unexpected circumstances arrives.
5. Chairs are expensive.
We had a dining table with no chairs, which was an issue. My roommate and I went to IKEA, and to my surprise, even four of the cheapest chairs added up to $60. I know it's really not that much money but chairs just don't seem like something worth investing in and somehow, the price just adds up when you have to buy four chairs. I mean, I'm not going to sit on all four chairs at once. We take chairs for granted and don't think about paying for something to sit on. So appreciate the chairs in your life.