How to Survive Your First Off Campus Living Experience

If you’re coming off your freshman year, chances are you’ve learned how to survive the communal living experience (nightmare) they call the dorms. From snoring to roommates to crowded bathrooms, you’ll have some of your best and worst times in the dorms.

Hopefully you’ve made it past that and you’re ready for your first taste of freedom living off campus. Whatever year you’re in, keep in mind the struggle is still real when you live off campus… it’s just different. You’ll have to learn how to fend for yourself for things like food, laundry, and there’s no longer staff to clean your bathroom. We at Rent College Pads have lived it all, from dorms to dingy houses and even “high class” student apartments, so we put together some tips on how to survive your first year living off campus.

Pick the right place

Typical College ApartmentGranted, the typical college housing charm is inevitable to come with almost every student rental unit in existence, but make sure this is the right place for you. We’ve laid it all out in place, so why not set up showings at multiple places? Pick the area you want to live, whether that’s close to campus or within stumbling distance from your favorite bar. Make sure to get a walkthrough and make your decision after you’ve seen a few places that you like. That being said, remember that no place will be perfect… it’s just got to be perfect for you.  

Document everything before you move in

You’ll thank me when you get your security deposit back. Take photos and write down absolutely everything that you don’t want to get charged for when your lease is up. As long as you’ve taken care of this in the beginning, you won’t have to pay for any damage you didn’t create. Also, try not to burn the place down. This might be your apartment for your entire college career, or only a year, but treat it like it’s your own.

Pre-plan with your upcoming roommates

As cool as it may seem to have 4 TVs in the living room, and 3 couches, and 3 coffee tables… space will be limited. Make a checklist to ensure you have all the appliances and furnishings you need without duplicates. Moving stuff is a hassle, so you should try to only do it once.

A clean home is a happy home

Kitchen for College KidsYour parents will probably buy you a ton of cleaning supplies at the beginning of the year, try to actually use those. Keeping a clean house might not be the most fun thing to do on a Sunday afternoon, but it will minimize the amount of time you spend sick in bed. And make sure you always have a clean pair of underwear.

Find a perfect balance for food in the fridge

Refrigerator full of college student foodBuy food in advance so you’re not maxing on McDonalds every night, sure you might love it now but your body will thank you later. Make several meals at once and freeze them, it’s like the fast food you can keep in your home. Of course, you can’t buy too much and hog all the room in the fridge, so work together with your roommates to find a healthy balance.

Pay your rent on time

Late fees are real, and nobody likes paying extra money the didn’t have to. Same goes for utilities, if you let these slide they will come back and haunt you one day.

Don’t be afraid of the maintenance man

That apartment of yours doesn’t come cheap. Don’t be afraid to call the landlord whenever necessary to make sure everything is in working order.

Keep the peace

Whether you end up liking it or not, you’ll have to live with those roommates of yours until at least the end of the year. Keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to speak up when you have an issue. Passive aggressive notes will only get you so far and an open line of communication will help make sure everyone is on the same page. Don’t be afraid of conflict, but don’t create it just for fun. Be mindful of your roommates and expect them to be mindful of you.

Be responsible

Those all night ragers are fun, I can’t lie to you. But keep in mind why you’re paying so much money to be in school and live in your totally awesome off campus apartment. Go to class, study hard, take care of your mental and physical health, but remember it’s okay to take breaks, sleep in, and have fun safe and responsibly. You won’t have an RA keeping you in check every night, so enjoy your freedom, but enjoy it wisely.

 

Callie Kollenbroich has been the Operations Coordinator and Content Writer/Editor at Rent College Pads since 2015. When she’s not working, you can find her at home, eating peanut butter out of the jar and bingeing an unhealthy amount of Forensic Files. She’s not as lame as she sounds.

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