First and foremost, it was the people. Whether it was on- or off-campus, I wanted to live with my friends, and my friends wanted to move off-campus.
Secondly, it was budgetary. We found an apartment that cost less than paying for housing on campus, which was a plus for us because we saved some money. We also stopped purchasing meal plans after moving off-campus and started cooking our own meals, which translated to more savings.
Those were my/our reasons for moving off-campus. Here is what living in an apartment has been like for me.
The rent I pay is comparatively low to the other housing options surrounding my apartment complex —meaning some amenities are not the best.
The internet is sometimes atrocious. The cable is always atrocious. And, sadly, we still must take our laundry to a washing room.
I personally love to cook, and having my own kitchen is something I truly appreciate and love about living in an apartment.
Plus, my favorite way to cook is with nothing but an apron and shorts on so having a kitchen where I can have some privacy is great.
Setting off the fire alarm now only upsets three people and does not displace a whole residence hall which is nice to think about when the alarm goes off at the slightest whiff of smoke.
Space is a nice, nice thing; all three of us have our own rooms. And while bunk-bedding is scientifically known to create more space for activities and is what I did for my two years on campus, there is something to be said for being able to close my door at night and sleep in my own, actual bed (I am a taller than the average person and sleeping in my own bed is a significant upgrade).
Our apartment has its own combined living and dining room. This makes family dinners and having friends over a lot more enjoyable.
I have my own parking space. I had to buy a parking pass, but I am guaranteed a spot to park my car, close to my apartment, always — which is not something I had during my time on-campus.
There should be an asterisk beside the “always.” In the case of snow and ice, there is a chance the parking lot becomes an icy wasteland not for the faint of heart or those without all-wheel drive.
But the best space thing is having two bathrooms between three people. Two bathrooms between three people is a significant and noticeable improvement over one bathroom for eight people.
As far as neighbors go, my roommates and I were not the most neighborly people to begin with, even when we were in dorms. With that being said, I still have no idea who lives beside me or above me, which is different than when I lived in a dorm and was at least on cordial terms with the people in my suite. Whether or not this is a good thing depends on the individual.
These are the things that come to mind when I consider what it is like to live in an apartment. And it is the collection of these things that make me consider my apartment more of a home than either of my dorm rooms.