Ever since my freshman year of college, I always dreamed of moving into my own apartment off-campus. Although I enjoyed my first two years of school at UConn and learned invaluable lessons from living in the traditional dorm style rooms, I knew that I wanted to experience the true independence of living on my own. Following a long summer of extensive Ikea and Homegoods shopping trips, I was finally ready to move into my very own apartment… Or I thought. I quickly learned that there is much more to living on your own than intricately decorating your room and getting to live with your best friend. With freedom comes responsibility, and I can genuinely say I learned a lot about both during my first year of living off-campus.
It is a huge responsibility to sign your name on a legally binding lease. With your signature comes the agreement to respect your place of residence, stay up-to-date with payments, and adhere to any other standards or requirements that your property requests of its tenants. Before I signed my agreement, I had to critically read what was mutually expected of my apartment complex and me, and abide by such throughout the year.
Oh how I miss being able to waltz into any given dining hall on campus and grab as much food as my heart desires without having to spend any of my own money. Paying for weekly groceries on top of monthly rent and utility expenses is a major reality check for us college students. Budgeting out my funds effectively to cover all of my costs is an extremely complicated yet crucial skill I developed this year.
The days of rolling out of bed at 7:45 am and still making it to my 8 am lecture on time are officially over. Most off-campus apartments or houses are farther away from campus than the dorms are, and arriving to campus on time can be especially tricky when you have to try to find a parking space in lots that are notorious for filling up fast. Therefore, it requires extra time and planning to make it to campus for class.
When I lived on campus, it was easy to go back to my dorm in between classes and other time commitments. Once I moved into my apartment, I realized that if I had class in the morning, work in the afternoon, and an organization meeting in the evening, I would have to stay on campus for the entirety of my day. Instead of falling into the trap of taking on less on-campus commitments, I made sure to effectively schedule my day so that I get my work done in the breaks throughout my schedule. That way, when I finally return home in the evening, all of my work is completed and I can enjoy my night, stress-free.
Overall, moving off-campus allowed me to continue my growth as an independent individual. After learning the skills necessary to be a successful college student while living on-campus my first two years, I was able to expand upon those building blocks while living in my own apartment this year. Learning how to manage the new responsibilities that come with living off-campus was difficult at first; however, the skills I ultimately developed this year will undoubtedly benefit my success in life post-graduation.
Off-Campus Student Services