Around the end of January and beginning of February, our school sends out an email asking us to “check the box”. It’s housing time. Last year, after receiving my housing lottery number, one of my friends and I started exploring off-campus options. Living off campus had been in the back of my mind even before the lottery began. The housing experience is stressful from start to finish and friendships are destroyed because of it. I wanted out. Once the majority of the people I wanted to live with ended up with little to no options for housing, we started searching off campus.
The experience of looking at houses and apartments was a new one, but enjoyable. I felt grown up, excited at the possibility, and was on my toes. I made a lot of phone calls and saw a lot of different possibilities and had to think about rent and utility costs. In the end, we got lucky. We live five minutes from campus, in a beautiful house with five individual bedrooms, haven’t had any bug problems (knock on wood!), and it’s all because we reached our landlord before someone else did and my fantastic parents.
Needless to say, all five of us love living here even though there is one bathroom. So, when I got that familiar email asking me to check the box a few days ago, I was thrilled because I already have a place to live. The new lease is signed and waiting to be picked up. I have to be honest, I was nervous about moving off campus in the beginning. Now, I love it, and have had a better experience the past few months than I ever did living in the dorms. This decision was probably one of the wisest choices I made about housing since my freshman year.
Sure, it sucks not living in the middle of everything and there is a social aspect missing when you move off campus, but this semester I’ve gotten better at managing that. The library is where I spend time between classes. I eat lunch and dinner with friends. Days I don’t have class are “me” days. I go to the mall, see my therapist, and watch TV in bed.
I don’t mind the constant socialization that comes with a school as small as ours, in fact, I love recognizing faces and knowing a lot of people. Being able to go home after a long day and be away from everyone in a room that is all mine: no roommates, noisy hall mates or suitemates has been really fantastic. This freedom to be my introverted self but also have moments of extroversion has made school all the more enjoyable for me and I can’t wait to live off campus again next year.