Moving from Cleveland, Ohio to Charlotte, N.C., I was forced to make one of the most crucial decisions about college before I even stepped foot on UNC Charlotte’s campus as a freshman.
Do I have to share a bathroom? How much walking will I be doing? How much money should I spend? How many roommates should I have?
I heard from different people many times that the infamous high rises were the place to be.
“The high rises give you the best freshman experience,” they said.
Knowing the dorms are not exactly the Plaza Hotel, I went with the high rises. I typed Sanford Hall into that number one slot on my housing application and now that is where I’m currently staying. A cold corner room with cement block walls and a bathroom down the hall.
I signed a single room contract in October because I was terrified of repeating the nightmare I was living when I first moved into the dorms. I call the place I have been living in for the past seven months my jail cell.
After much consideration, I recently decided where I am going to be living next fall for my sophomore year.
I will be living at Walden Station. Yes, the off-campus apartment buildings that are being built as I write this story.
To say that I am excited would be an understatement. I do think that living on-campus for your first year of college is the right choice. You really do get that ‘freshman experience’ everyone is talking about, and you have a safe place to make your college transition.
Many factors were considered when deciding where to live in the fall.
I did not just choose to live in an off-campus apartment for my own bathroom. That just happens to be one of the perks. The financial aspect definitely played a part in the decision-making process.
Whether you are an out-of-state student or not, college is expensive. No matter which residence hall you choose, you are going to be paying the housing fees and paying for a meal plan.
I don’t know about anyone else, but Crown or RDH are not my first choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Basically, my meal swipes go to waste.
My family is paying thousands of dollars for food that I’m not eating. Living in a larger, newer and more private space with a spacious kitchen will actually save money.
Living off-campus allows you to get out from under the requirement of purchasing a traditional meal plan. Having a full kitchen in an off-campus apartment also gives you a bit more variety and freedom to prepare your own meals.
Healthier options and routines can hopefully reverse that ‘freshman 15.’
As of right now, more walking is in the picture for me next year. I chose an off-campus apartment when I do not even have a car in North Carolina. In my mind, the payoff is going to be more than worth it.
All of these things sound great, but it is as simple as this: do not choose off-campus living if you don’t think you can handle it. Living within the campus boundaries does not allow for as many distractions as off-campus living does.
The transition from high school to college is already a huge change when it comes to the amount of freedom we have. Off-campus living may push the limits for some students.
I know that I am ecstatic about living in an apartment next year, but that does not mean I can let the academic side of college go out the window.
Just remember to keep the pros and cons of your different living options in mind. I may have given you a little perspective, but ultimately this inevitable decision is up to you.