Living on your own is one of the biggest changes that comes with your first year of college.
Leaving the security and predictability of your parents’ home is an important step you need to take on the road to becoming a full-fledged adult.
For many freshmen, that means moving into the dorms.
Yet although dorm life means you’re free from your parents’ rules and a bit more independent than you were in high school, it isn’t exactly “adulting” the way you might have envisioned. Think about it: Most adults don’t have to worry about wearing flip-flops in the shower. They also typically don’t find themselves eating cereal for dinner because there’s nothing else to eat.
There are many reasons why living in a dorm may not be right for you, which is why you should take the time to consider whether or not you want to live on campus when starting your first year of college.
Here are some of the top reasons why living off campus may be a smart choice for you.
One of the best parts about dorm life is that you’re surrounded by people your own age who share similar experiences. That means you’re never alone, which is good and bad: If you’re someone who values the idea of “alone time,” living off campus might be right for you. Also, living off campus means you’ll be sharing your bathroom with one or two other people at most, instead of an entire floor.
Room and board is one of the single-biggest expenses you’ll have when you go to college. Living in the dorms means you won’t have to worry about shopping for groceries or paying rent, but it also means you have fewer options. Plus, the cost likely will be rolled into your student debt. Living off campus gives you the freedom to find a space that fits your budget, and you probably won’t still be paying for it when you reach retirement age.
Most dorm food is edible, to put it charitably. Though there’s a reason why there are usually a ton of fast food places so close to your campus. Living outside of campus means you won’t be stuck with the dining hall. Plus, with your own kitchen, you can prepare your meals. Nothing says “adulting” like preparing fresh, healthy meals for yourself.
College is an opportunity to explore the larger world, but that’s going to be difficult if you never leave campus. Living off campus means you’ll have more freedom to experience your community, especially if you go to school in a larger city. Even if your college has an abundance of cultural events and activities, there’s no substitute for real-world experience.
Living the dorm life is a big part of the college experience, but it doesn’t have to be if it’s not right for you. There are many ways in which living off campus can be a better option for you. What’s more, choosing whether you should live on campus can be a great first step on your way to becoming an independent adult.
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