This Is Why I Never Lived on Campus and I Have No Regrets

This Is Why I Never Lived on Campus and I Have No Regrets

Save Money and Some of Your Sanity
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During my entire four years of college, I never lived on campus. Some may say I missed out on the unique experience of living on a college campus in a dorm room with a total stranger. I say I dodged a bullet.

The truth is, I have no regrets about choosing to live off-campus for my entire college career. I still had a solid group of friends and did well in all my classes. In fact, I’d choose to do it all over again. Here are five reasons why.

Price

Not that money should be the most important driver to any decision, but it’s definitely a crucial point. Depending on where you go to school and the town’s average cost of living, you can usually live off-campus, in your own space, for less money.

With the rising cost of education came astronomically high housing and meal plan prices for most institutions. Some dorm rooms will cost a student more than $4,000 per semester — that’s almost $1,200 a month for one student, who could be splitting a similar price between three or four roommates in an off-campus apartment or house.

Freedom

Another somewhat obvious reason it’s better to live off-campus than on-campus is because you get more freedom. No longer do you have an RA a few doors down waiting to bust you for enjoying a beer after class — even if you’re 21. You have your own space with no one baby-sitting you anymore. It’s a true taste of liberty and independence.

That being said, it’s important to mention that you do still have rules to follow that are set forth by your landlord. Failure to comply with your lease could land you in big trouble, so you still have to keep yourself (generally) under control.

Roommate Control

If you’re like most of us, you probably didn’t mesh well with your random dorm roommate from freshman year. In fact, you might not have even lasted the entire year with them — not that I’m speaking from experience.

One of the best parts about my time living off-campus was the fact that I was living with my best friends. At times it felt like a movie — we got to have sleepovers every night! Being able to choose your own roommates is many students’ primary reason for moving to town.

Alone Time

On the flip side, living in an off-campus house or apartment likely means you have your own room to retreat to when you need some space, quiet or privacy. For me, being able to shut my bedroom door when I needed to study, nap or just spend some time reading was a blessing. College is a stressful time, and sometimes you just want to be alone for a few minutes.

Cooking

Since you aren’t forced to purchase a $2,000 meal plan every semester when you live off-campus, you have more than enough money to grocery shop with. You can purchase some seriously delicious ingredients, a few basic pieces of cookware and any necessary utensils and still save money compared to buying a meal plan. Plus, now that you’re equipped with a full kitchen instead of a microwave and a hot plate, you can let your true culinary skills shine.

I’m not much of a cook, but one of my roommates was, which was just as awesome. If you take the time to meal plan, grocery shop and prepare a few dishes to get you through the week, you can really be eating well for a college student.

A Taste of the Real World

Perhaps all these perks of living off campus can be summed up into one simple reason most students choose to live off-campus: It gives them a taste of the real world.

College students often feel stuck in a strange in-between phase of life. They aren’t kids anymore, but they aren’t really adults, either. Living off-campus is a way for students to take on more responsibilities and experience what life is like as a real person. Paying bills, cleaning, taking out the trash, bringing in the mail and other household maintenance activities all contribute to that.

So, that’s why I don’t regret skipping the on-campus housing phase of my college years — and neither does my bank account!

Cover Image Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/KAaAotRE6YY?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText

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10 TV Shows That Can Replace 'The Office' On Netflix By 2021

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A Few Birthday Thoughts

Goodbye teenage years, hello twenties!

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So, it is looking like I am about to leave my teenage years behind. I think that I want to reflect back on this time in my life and think about what I want to keep with me in my twenties and maybe some things I can let go. My teenage years have been full of love from my family and friends; hard work to make good grades in school and creating art. I developed several great friendships that I have held on to across the miles even though I went to college 14 hours away from our previous home. I am so thankful for the friendships I have made in college as well.

It seems like friends you make in your childhood and younger years can really stand the test of time. Maybe it is because when you became friends you were truly who you were. Everyone was genuine and didn't put up walls to protect themselves. You got to know someone on a deeper more personal level more quickly than if you had met later in life. I also think we laughed even more as children and that always creates good memories to look back on. So I think in my twenties I will try to hang on to the "childish" way of making friends. I will try to show my true self and will accept them for who they are, and we will laugh....a lot.

I think a good thing to let go of is always trying to make dead-end relationships work. When we were children on the playground and we tried to play a game together or jump rope and it just wasn't working, we would run off and find someone else. It was easy. It was just natural. Now sometimes I find myself trying to stay in a relationship by being overly nice, giving gifts, trying to find what pushes the persons "good" buttons. I might spend so much time trying to figure this person out that I leave out more solid relationships that are worth my time. So in my twenties, I will try to be more realistic about who to spend my time on. Some people are just never going to stand the test of time. I can continue to be cordial but won't let them rule my time and thought life.

As children, we loved our parents and siblings and would show love to them in a myriad of ways. Maybe it was hugs, pictures on the fridge, good night kisses, playing games, or just quality time spent together as a family. Starting my twenties, I am mature enough to realize the value of these people in my life. Thankfully, I have always known this. I was never the type that was embarrassed if someone saw me walking with my Mom or Dad or being dropped off in the Mom Van somewhere. I always knew these people loved me more than anyone else I was about to meet. But in my twenties, I plan to keep up with my family even when I am eight hours away from them. We are never too old to need the love of family.

As weird as it is to say goodbye to my teenage years, it's honestly helped me to soak in the precious moments of everyday life and treasure them even more. Every year when birthdays come around, it always serves as a reminder how quickly the days, months, and years fly by. I think that has been one difficult part of this birthday season. It's hard to say goodbye to the past, without a clear map of the future. But, I must remind myself that this is why growing up is a beautiful thing- as we live life and experience new things, we are better prepared for what the future may hold. Everything that I have experienced in my 20 years has served an important purpose- to make me into the person I am supposed to become. Yes, life is always changing and so am I... and change can be hard. Very hard. But one thing to remember is God is always constant. He will never change. No matter what number is on your birthday cake, He is always there...the same God yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is the Rock that we will always be able to cling to. Isn't that a wonderful thought? Even if we don't know what's in His plans for us in the coming year, it's important to make Him a part of our plans. Rather than worry about change, let's embrace it all- the good and the bad- and look to the Lord to see how He will guide and shape us.

Teenage years- the time has come. I must say goodbye to you now. But, you will never be forgotten. I will hold your memories in my heart forever. Twenties- I am excited for all that awaits me.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9

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