When you go to college, there is a great amount of freedom that comes from living off campus. You are free to make your own decisions about what you eat, when you go to bed, how late you stay out with friends, and more. Whether you have previously lived at home with family or in dorms on campus, living off campus will afford you more privacy and independence. However, with that freedom comes quite a bit of responsibility.
You are responsible for your grocery shopping, laundry, housecleaning, and overall health and well being. Coupled with the responsibility of school, possibly work, and any other aspects of your life, it can be a bit overwhelming to handle extra day-to-day tasks that you’re not used to shouldering.
Don’t feel overwhelmed—give yourself plenty of time to adjust to this new way of living and do what you can to make your new life more manageable. If you’re living off campus, here are some hints to help you adjust to new responsibilities.
1. Time Yourself Going To and From School
One of the unexpected aspects of living off campus for some college students is the extra time it takes to get to classes. Regardless of how you’re planning on getting to class (walking, biking, driving, public transport, etc.), plan on making a dry run or keeping time on your first day of school.
Finding out how long it takes you to get from your front door to your classroom is important, especially if your teacher takes attendance. If you know how long you need to get to campus, you will always know when you need to leave the house in order to be on time. Make the effort to find out which method of transportation gets you there fastest.
Don’t forget, It’s also important to consider factors that might make the journey take longer such as traffic during rush hour, or if you’re living in an Ohio University housing rental, heavy snow during the winter.
2. Make A Weekly Meal Plan
You won’t have a meal card or a parent to make sure you have 3 meals a day, but you can certainly handle this new responsibility. It might be best for you to plan ahead and decide what you want to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and make a grocery list.
Make a trip to the grocery store to stock up your kitchen so that you can prepare your own meals. If you are unprepared to feed yourself, it can be easy to get into the bad habit of eating out often, resulting in lethargy, weight gain, and significant money spent.
Don’t forget to buy snacks to eat in between meals, too. A box of protein bars, bag of chips, container of fruit, or other snack items can go a long way when you need to grab something quickly to hold you over until your next big meal.
3. Set Roommate Ground Rules
There won’t be an RA or rules off-campus like there are in a dorm. It’s important to set roommate ground rules and make sure you agree on things like sharing chores and having visitors. Some college students prefer to buy groceries with their roommates and others prefer to cook separately.
It’s a good idea to discuss these issues when you first move in to make sure you’re on the same page. Adjusting to living with new people can take some time; if you and your roommates don’t hit it off right away, don’t worry. More time spent together will strengthen your bonds and improve the unity in your home.
4. Get Involved in Campus Events
Living off campus creates distance between you and your fellow schoolmates. Instead of living in a dorm with hundreds of other students, you’re living in a home or apartment with a handful of roommates. If you’re feeling a little disconnected from the student community off-campus then get involved in more campus events.
You could try joining clubs, going to sports games, attending parties, or anything else held at your school. There will be plenty of other students with interests similar to yours in attendance. This is a great way to meet new people in a natural, fun environment.
5. Don’t Let Your Freedom Go to Your Head
It’s easy to let freedom go to your head as it’s the first time you’ll be living without supervision. Remember you still have your studies and other household responsibilities such as paying the rent, studying, maintaining your home, and more. It’s your job to take care of yourself as well as your living space.
Consider how often you eat out, how you can make sure to get some exercise in, how late you stay out on school nights, etc. Although it’s important to have fun, be sure to make decisions that will encourage your success.
Contact Wharton Rentals to find off-campus housing near Ohio University where you can start living independently.