Moving out of the dorm and into an off-campus housing solution – like an apartment or rental – is both exciting and nerve-wracking. You probably don’t know what to expect and might be a little apprehensive about the responsibilities that come with taking care of your own place. You’re also notably excited about the freedoms that come with the territory. But what can you do to make sure you survive? Here are some suggestions that you’ll commonly hear from those who have been in your shoes before.
- Choose Good Roommates
The most important step in the process is finding the right roommates. Your best friends may or may not be the ideal roommates for you. Think about schedules, personal habits, interests, and other issues when determining who you want to live with. Nothing is more miserable than having a roommate you don’t like, so avoid rushing into things just because a particular living situation seems convenient.
- Build a Good Reputation With Your Landlord
You’ve probably heard stories from friends who don’t get along with their landlords – you don’t want that to be you. The landlord can make or break your satisfaction and you want to get in his good graces.
Here’s the thing: Landlords are cautious when it comes to renting out their properties to young people. College students have a reputation for not taking care of their properties and many landlords simply don’t want to deal with the hassle. If you can build a strong relationship on the front end and garner some trust, things will go much smoother.
- Conduct a Walkthrough
When you move out of your rental property, your landlord is going to walk around the property and inspect everything. If something is broken or missing, you’re going to get charged for it. Understanding this, you need to conduct a walkthrough with your landlord prior to moving in so that you can document anything that’s already broken or missing. This will protect you should any discrepancies emerge at the end of your lease.
- Set Some Ground Rules With Roommates
It’s not always an easy conversation to have, but you need to set some ground rules with roommates as soon as you move in. This will hopefully allow you to avoid conflict and ensure everyone feels safe, comfortable, and happy.
For example, if you’re big on cleanliness and want to make sure people don’t leave their dirty dishes in the sink after eating, establish some rules on putting dishes away and unloading the dishwasher. Little things like these might not seem like a big deal in the beginning, but they can create friction after months of living together.
- Use Your Kitchen
Speaking of the kitchen – use it! One of the biggest benefits of living in an apartment or house (versus dorm room) is that you have a space to make your own meals. This can save you a lot of money and typically ends up being a lot healthier.
- Make Memories
Finally, be sure to make memories. There’s nothing like living off-campus for the first time and experiencing new freedoms. Have a blast, make new friends, and don’t take these years for granted.
Just Use Your Head
Being a college student can seem difficult at the time. Between classes, group projects, your social life, and maybe even a part-time job, there’s a lot going on. But the truth of the matter is that your life will never be easier than it is now. Just use your head, be smart, and have a blast. Living off-campus for the first time is a quintessential college experience and you should maximize the opportunity.