Off-Campus Living Vs. On-Campus Living

By on March 4, 2014

I think I speak for most of us when I say I was not living on my own when I was in high school. I will be so bold as to assume that the gross majority of my fellow freshman back in 2011 had not been raised by wolves, and that it too was their first time not living with a parent, grandmother, adopted uncle, or just guardian adult of some type. It was sad, and it was hard, but living on my own was one of the most exciting experiences of my life. I have many friends who still live at home with their parents, and sometimes I envy them. If I had the option to live at home I would, but my parents semi-abruptly decided to move to San Francisco when I finished high school, so I was presented with the option of living on-campus or off-campus. While I enjoyed living on campus, I have settled on living off campus, but that is not to say that off-campus living is superior to on-campus living.

Living on campus has many pros, one of which is the “college experience.” I liked living on campus as a freshman because I could wake up at 9:55, and still make it to class on time at 10:10. It is extremely convenient to live on campus because you can park once and just walk from one building to the next, and you are never more than a 15 minute walk to your next destination. Living on campus is also a 24/7 social experience since you are living in a compound stuffed full of fellow UAB comrades. That may appeal to some people, but if you love your privacy, living 24/7 with three other stressed-out, hormonal 20 year-olds may not be for you. I asked my friend Kristine about what she thought, and I think she sums it up quite perfectly.

“The residence halls fostered an incredible sense of community for people from all walks of life. But because living in a residence hall is so-very community based, sometimes I would feel stifled and recluse-like and not want to talk to anyone, thus I’d find myself taking the stairs simply to avoid either the potential or guaranteed small talk that takes place in an elevator,” she said.

Living off campus also has many pros, and personally it appeals to me more. The biggest one is price. Dorms are expensive, since your utilities, cable, wifi, and security is included. After freshman year I got very tired of checking every single one of my friends in and out, and having to get my roommates’ signatures so my sister could spend the night. These two factors were most influential in my decision, but for Kristine, who has lived alone this semester, it was the need for peace that pulled her to living alone.

“I enjoy my ‘me-time’ so much, maybe even too much. So far, the only down side of living alone seems to be keeping up with the bills on my own, which to me is proving itself as a life lesson that has been waiting to be learned,” she said.

There are many things to consider when moving to a new place. If your biggest pet peeve is parking, then let that be your deciding factor. If having 20 pet snakes is your life, then let that make up your mind. You can make either situation work, and always remember that no decision has to be forever.

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