The joys of living off campus in college

Wil Gradle

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There are those who would characterize off-campus living accommodations as “sub-par” or “unsafe” or “inadequate,” and those folks, my friends, are wrong. You see, there is much more to the off-campus experience than just not having to move your stuff three feet away from the heating unit; you have the careful and loving attention of landlords who always have your best interests in mind! And while I’ve heard many a tale of wondrous and adventurous off-campus housing experiences, I’ll keep my reflections to my own experience.

 First, let’s talk about move-in day. There’s no experience like moving into your own house for the first time; there’s something truly magical about walking into your living room with tropically humid air and the carpet that offers the soft squish of damp sand. If you’re as lucky as I am, you’ll probably even find out that your house doesn’t have central air conditioning, so the workout of moving beds, dressers, and desks is even more gratifying than you could’ve ever expected.

 I’ll be the first to say that I appreciate the thoughtfully damp quality of the house; it offered the Louisiana bayou aesthetic that I always wanted in my first home. I wish I could express with words the joy I felt a few days after move-in, when I returned home from my internship, only to receive a call from my roommate letting me know that my basement bedroom had flooded and all of my meaningless belongings were wet. I can only imagine the lengths the previous tenants went to in order to ensure that I got the full swamp experience in a basement that had “never flooded before.” It’s that sort of attention to detail that makes living life off-campus so fulfilling.

 One of my favorite parts of living off campus is learning to overcome challenges as a rite of adulthood. You often start off learning to cope in the face of meaningless broken promises like, “We’ll totally finish installing the shower within two months of you living there, even though we also promised it would be done before you moved in.”

 Then, you’re slowly offered the opportunity to overcome larger challenges like dealing with single-pane windows whose frames are actually too warped to close properly and allow Jack Frost’s Christmassy kisses to enter unabated. Learning to triumph in the face of adversity is certainly one of the most rewarding aspects of living life off campus.

 By far, the single greatest part of living off-campus is the sheer number of unadvertised, hidden amenities built right into the comfort of your new home! From the paper-thin walls that allow you to hear every single footstep throughout the house, to the cracked support beam under the living room that gives the floor a springboard quality, the off-campus house is built for fun.

 This is to say nothing of the innumerable wildlife encounters I’ve been offered at no additional cost. From the raccoons that live on the roof to the bats that get in through the attic, my house has given me an unprecedented, up-close look at some of Macomb’s most fascinating creatures. I’ve even gotten to encounter some of nature’s largest crickets that have their own little entrance through the cracked foundation.

 So readers, before you decide to live another year on campus, be sure you’re considering the full range of benefits of living life off. You’ll never be bored from the countless and frequent adventures that just pop up from the floorboards, the holes in the attic, or the cracks in the foundation. Plus, you can rest assured that your roommates will always do their own dishes, eat their own food, and clean up
after themselves.

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