Housing, Meal Plan, and RESIDENT ASSISTANTS….OH MY!
Some students and former students have bad associations with ‘campus housing’. But the big secret to being a housing winner this: take control. Know your odds in the housing lottery, and if they are not good, consider going off campus if you’re responsible enough to do a bit of advance planning.
Ok… the decision will probably be a bit more complicated than that. Let’s talk about why you might want to live on campus. Are your friends all staying “on”? Do you have a beautiful dorm room/suite either guaranteed or very likely? Are there social events in your dorm that you plan to be involved in? Do you hate cooking and never want to learn to live on your own? Do you lack the cash you’d probably need to put down on an apartment or house you rented? If you responded “yes” to any of these questions, staying on-campus could be for you.
Living off campus has a separate set of questions. It’s for the more independent among us (in most cases) although some clubs, fraternities and sororities, or other organizations have a standing “house” that group members can live in without needing to find and furnish an apartment on their own. Keep in mind that if your house is “run” by you and your roommates, you’ll have to oversee managing expenses for food and utilities yourself, and you’ll have to plan for meals and snacks in advance rather than strolling mindlessly into the dining hall. You’ll also have to find a roommate or roommates reliable enough to be able to commit ahead of time to living with you, and also reliable enough to pay rent, pitch in on household chores, and take care of the place without the fear of enforcement from an authority figure.
Though living off-campus requires more initiative, it can also be extremely rewarding: you can live with exactly who you want to, you can leave your stuff out in common areas and take an actual bath in a shower you know is relatively clean, and you can have the peace of mind to know you won’t get stuck with a crappy room for a whole year of your life just because your name got drawn last in the housing lottery.