Why Living Off Campus is Better

When school first started back in August, I was laying in bed in my dorm, thinking to myself, “Maybe I’m just dreaming. Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow in my bedroom at home.” Unfortunately, I was not so lucky. Dorm rooms are fairly nice. They’re close to campus and … actually that’s it. That’s the only positive thing I can think of for living in a dorm room. I was warned by many people, including my parents, some teachers, and even other students about dorms. Once I moved into them, I immediately regretted it.

“You don’t have to pay for utilities,” argue those who are pro-dorm. Actually, you do. In several two-bedroom apartments around Salt Lake City, rent and utilities only cost a thousand dollars per month. Splitting between two people means you only pay five hundred a month. Compared to the dorms, where I alone was paying over a thousand dollars every month, while living in the cheapest dorm with the cheapest meal plan. Nothing is free. Some of that money paid for my meal plan … that I hardly ever used. The kitchen would be closed when I finally got off work or out of class, and sometimes I just didn’t feel like pizza or grilled cheese. For some students, living in a dorm isn’t much of a problem. Some students have no choice because their homes are too far away, they have full ride scholarships, or they have parents who can pay for everything, which is something I can hardly fathom. Even if you are fiscally capable of living in the dorms, money isn’t the only problem.

Living close to campus was very convenient. Class was only a 10 to 15 minute shuttle ride away. But as nice and relaxing as that feature is, it can be a problem for several students, like it was for me. Sometimes after one class I thought to myself, “I have enough time to go back to the dorm and chill for a bit before my next class.” But once I got back to my dorm and was comfortable laying in bed, do you think I wanted to leave again to go to a class that I didn’t technically have to attend? Nope. Skipping class in the name of convenience and comfort is a bad habit for many students living in the dorms. The nice thing about living in an apartment that’s about 20 minutes away is that I’m not tempted to go home and skip class. Being forced to remain on campus between classes is improving my study habits. I just got out of class a half hour ago, as I type this, and I have work in a half hour, so I’m using this free time to get this story done instead of chilling at home.

Living in an apartment is also nice because my food options aren’t limited. I can eat whatever I want and I’m learning to cook for myself. The dorm food is okay but I didn’t like being limited to certain hours and I’m more comfortable cooking my own food.

If your parents live nearby and are okay with it, I strongly encourage you to live with them, especially if you have an okay relationship with them. The emotional support that parents can offer and living in a home that you are familiar and comfortable with is frankly invaluable. If you don’t like living at home, it’s too far away, or you just really want to get out of your parents’ house, an apartment will provide more freedom and space than a dorm room for less. In my own apartment, as long as I don’t ruin what was already there, it is my own space. I can light candles, blast music, have pets and I don’t have to share a bathroom with two other girls who have annoying habits.

My parents warned me and did their best to convince me to live at home or off campus. I didn’t listen to them because I wanted “the college experience.” I wanted to live with my roommate in a dorm, and I thought it would be a nice transition from living at home to being on my own. I thought living in a dorm would be emotionally easier, but it wasn’t. I still missed my parents and was lonely, and I listened to girls in other dorm rooms having slumber parties and socializing while I was stuck doing homework and being a complete stranger to everyone. Had I lived at home and just commuted 45 minutes everyday, I would still have all the money I worked extremely hard for, and I’d still have the constant emotional support of my family. If I had lived off campus in the first place, I would have more money, my grades would have been better, and I probably wouldn’t have gained so much weight. Living in the dorms was a nice experience and if I hadn’t done it, I would be wondering what it’s like. However, the “college experience” for one semester wasn’t worth $5,000 and the emotional stress that went along with it.