For most of my college career, I have lived off campus in an apartment and reaped the benefits that come with it. Living in an apartment allowed me to get my life on track and work on myself in a way I never would have been able to living in the dorms.
For the first year of my college career, I went to UNL and lived in the dorms with a friend I had from high school. I constantly felt trapped inside the small dorms and was plagued by neighbors who never seemed to sleep and always wanted to party.
Although I can attest that UNO’s living spaces far exceed what I’ve seen at UNL, some of the same concepts apply. The idea of not being able to get away from college can be stressful, and having a place off campus to relax and work on things other than school can be crucial to one’s mental health.
Cost is another reason why I personally choose to live off campus. For me, living in an apartment is far cheaper than on campus and I know many others agree.
Living off campus allows you to manage your finances in a way on campus life doesn’t. If you live off campus, you’re required to constantly watch your bank account and pay monthly bills. This helped me become more responsible managing my finances and organizing myself, which I never did living on campus.
Having friends stay overnight is also never an issue in an apartment complex, as we always have enough room for friends to stay. In the dorms at UNL, the idea of having someone over was laughable, but with the space in an apartment, we can have friends over all the time.
Working off campus and affording rent can be stressful, but if you organize yourself in a way that works for your schedule, it can be an extremely helpful experience. Without living in an apartment, I don’t think I’d feel as ready as I already do for the real world post-college.
I have watched others live on campus for all of their college years, and once they head out in search of a career, living becomes an issue for them. It might be easier to afford with a full-time job, but managing finances poorly early can set you up for a rough time later in life.
If I had one piece of advice for those who live on campus and enjoy the luxuries of not having to prepare for life post-college, it would be to start working on managing your own life sooner rather than later. Work on your finances, get a job, and even choosing to work for your rent will pay dividends in the long run.
Living off campus changed me into a more responsible college student both financially and academically. Although campus life can benefit some, the responsibility that comes with living off campus can benefit you for life.