This doesn't require much of an introduction but when I wrote the first part of my Declassified OC Survival Guide, I made a list of things I wanted to say but it turned out to be too long for one article. Therefore, this is the Part 2 that was bound to ensue.
6. Food rots.
I know. Shocking. This seems painfully obvious and you've known this all your life, but let me say this again: Food. Rots. This concept just doesn't become a reality until you live by yourself for the first time. I've tragically thrown out quite a bit of rotten food and the guilt is worsened by the fact that I myself spent money on that food. You are going to learn the shelf/fridge lives of a variety of foods and that they're all over the place, ranging from a few days to a month. You may also find yourself actually strategizing how you're going to finish your food and inevitably be thwarted by whatever situation pops up throughout the week. Beware of strawberries, avocados, and chicken breasts.
7. You'll struggle to stay in the loop.
Putting it nicely, I was not the most present person on campus. But for some reason, moving off campus has made me appreciate living on campus and the ability to step out and just attend any campus events (even if I never did before) or at least be relevant. When you live off campus, you have to make a conscious effort to hang out with people and be a part of campus life. Those unhealthy study sessions until 4 a.m. I used to have with my friends are now cut short by the limitation that I have to drive to my apartment. You will have to strategize pretty much daily when you will go on campus, for how long, and when you'll leave between all the other things you have to do.
8. Don't invest too much.
If you like interior design and have collected IKEA catalogs for six years like me, getting your first apartment is probably the most exciting thing. You're probably dreaming of how you're going to furnish and decorate it so that it looks straight out of a catalog and how you're going to invite your friends over for dinner parties and they'll be so impressed. Or maybe not. In most cases, I would advise that you don't spend too much money (or time or effort) unless you're living in that apartment for a few years. Most students live off campus for just one year and here are a few realities to consider. First, your friends will probably not be as available to come over as often as you expect. This whole semester, I've only had my friends over to my apartment three times and I had to lure them with the promise of food (i.e. dinner parties) every time. Second, selling/moving/storing furniture is a pain at the end of the year, so it might just be easier to keep it simple. Additionally, if you buy new furniture, you're probably going to sell it at 60 percent of the original price, and that's a conservative figure. Lastly, as I mentioned in Part 1 of the Guide, you won't spend that much time in your apartment anyway.
9. Dishes are not the worst thing in the world.
Perhaps the most dreaded part of living off campus: dishes. As time passes, your ability to too keep up will gradually decline, as demonstrated in this graph I made:
Because I'm only halfway through a year of living off campus, the red dot represents where I probably am on the path to complete negligence. However, dishes have turned out to not be as abominable as I had anticipated Although a full sink of dishes seems like a daunting task, I have been surprised to find that I usually finish washing them faster than I expect (mean time = 5 minutes). I mean, you're probably only doing dishes for one person. Also, dishwashers are an amazing invention. Like any typical Asian household, my family just uses the dishwasher as a drying rack so the first time I pulled out a clean, shining dry bowl from the dishwasher, I was *amazed*. However, unless you coordinate with your roommates, you usually won't have enough dishes by yourself to justify a dishwasher load.
10. You will rarely see your roommate(s).
For some reason, my mom thinks my roommates and I have the time to sit down together and have dinner together and always asks if we do that. Our schedules are just so different that we rarely see each other, and on top of that, we eat out or on campus a lot anyway. However, all three of us have incidentally sit down and had dinner together a couple times and it was very nice. Nevertheless, as an extension of "you won't be in your apartment as much as you think," we are rarely all in the apartment at the same time.