A lot of colleges make you live on campus for at least your freshman year. This also usually means a required meal plan and minimal food options.
In terms of logistics, I felt it made the most sense to stay on campus freshman and sophomore year. I loved the option of off-campus housing for junior year, but since I studied abroad, it didn’t make much sense for one semester. So I saved it all for senior year.
For as much independence as you gain from living in a dorm on your own, it’s a whole new level when you’re off-campus. You learn so much about yourself and the people you live with.
You will quickly learn what your biggest pet peeves are and what bothers you most about living with others.
You will have no choice but to communicate the things that irritate you and remind people to please wash their dishes (and put them away).
There will also be a lot to learn about yourself.
Like I said, living on campus is already a great sense of independence.
But living off-campus leaves you the option of having no meal plan and leaving food all up to you. So many people will choose fast food or ramen every day but it’s such a fantastic way to start (or continue) teaching yourself new recipes with trial and error. You will find plenty of meals you make you’ll love! But you’ll also find that some just don’t live up to their BuzzFeed Food video.
When you’re responsible for food on your own, you will inevitably start clipping coupons, downloading shopping apps and learning about weekly sales for the best time to buy.
It will also be a great way to get a sneak peak at paying rent and bills. Venmo will be your best friend as you quickly transfer rent payments and divide up cable, heat and water bills!
Depending on your lease, you might also have the option to have small pets. Having this responsibility on your own at school is not only so much fun but also a very different experience not having your family at home to fall back on to feed/walk your pet if you forget.
I’ve loved having my pet at school since I’m the only one responsible for him and am on my own to make sure he’s taken care of every day.
And the best part of it all: coming home every day to living with some of your closest friends. You’ll learn so much about each other and become even closer as you share more of your lives together.
I can’t recommend living off-campus with friends more. It’s an irreplaceable experience I wish I’d had sooner.