By Liz

One of the biggest adjustments a college freshman will make is the day your parents pack up all your belongings into the car and drive you to the place where you will (hopefully) spend the next 4 years as a college student. This past summer, I spent the first few days of the school year helping freshmen move into their dorms and know first hand the move-in process can be awkward, nerve-wracking and stressful, to say the least. As a senior in high school, I was definitely not prepared for that day. So, because my parents live in the Madison area, I decided to skip that part of the college experience entirely and made the decision to live off-campus.

The best part about living off campus is the feeling of complete independence. Although, in my case I was still living at my parents’ house, I did feel like I had a little more freedom than the freshmen living on campus. I remember driving by the campus on my way home and thinking “all those freshman I had class with today are still there and stuck without their cars, that must be terrible!” Though I learned later that on-campus living isn’t really that terrible, living off-campus still allows you to be a little bit more connected to the outside world. Plus, you get to keep your car and are able to go places anytime you want to. Sometimes, living on campus and taking the same routes, seeing the same buildings and people a few times a day can become monotonous and it’s nice to have the option to get away.

Another part about living off campus is the opportunity to save money. By living at “mom and dad’s,” I saved money on residence hall cost, food, and laundry. And some off-campus apartments and houses also turn out to be cheaper. And if you have access to a car, working part-time is also an option.

Just like anything else, there are pros and cons to both kinds of living situations. It all depends on what options you have and what kind of experience you are looking for.