The ability to live off campus is something many college students look forward to as early as freshman year! Having your own house, with your best friends, a half mile away from academia…it can be a dream come true! For the most positive experience in your first real apartment or house this semester, you may want to take the following things into consideration:
A Chore Chart
It doesn’t have to be as formal as something that hangs on your fridge and collects gold stars, but having everyone in your living space agree on who does what and when from the beginning will save your group from a lot of frustrations and arguments! A pile of dishes in the sink for three days may not be a big deal to one person, but to another, it could mean the silent treatment. You don’t want your household cleanliness to come between you and your friends.
A Good Alarm Clock
When you lived on campus, waking up late meant throwing on your sneakers and running out the door, and within a few minutes, you were sitting in your lecture hall, dazed, but present and ready to turn in your paper or take your exam. When you’re off campus, it’s a bit harder to pull this off. Getting to class on time means walking up a few side streets, chasing after the bus, or driving and finding a parking spot in what is already a packed parking lot. Have a way to wake up that works so you’re not snoozing through your AM schedule.
A Weather Forecast
Students who live in the dorm will find themselves coming back to their rooms between classes, meals, and library study sessions. But living off campus usually means that you’ll leave your house or apartment before your first class, and return after your last one. You could be gone a couple of hours, or you might be gone the entire day! You don’t want to walk out the door in your flip flops, only to have it snow a foot in the six hours you’re in lectures and labs! You also don’t want to leave your kitchen window open, and come home to a puddle of rain on your floor. Know what the weather will be like for the entire day so you can plan effectively!
A Detailed Lease
Your lease is a very important document. It will detail how much your rent costs, when it’s due, what happens when it isn’t paid, whether or not you can paint and hang pictures, if items are allowed on porches and hallways, if pets are permitted and if so, what kind, what you should do when your toilet breaks, when you will receive a security deposit back, how you can break your lease in certain events, and so on. Get to know your lease well. You don’t want to find yourself paying fines because you broke a rule you didn’t know was described in your signed lease.