The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday January 26th

Pit Talk

Living off campus: Expectations vs. reality

As nice as the college life is, living in a dorm room is really hard. Having two people stay in the same 12-foot by 15-foot space can just be so straining on friendships and just personal living.

While I lived on campus, I spent many hours daydreaming about how glorious it would be to have my own space, but I would be lying if I didn't tell you it came with its drawbacks. 

Here's some ways that you might want to lower your expectations:

Expectation: I'll love having my own space!

Upgrading your life from a small room for everything to a multiple-room area complete with kitchen and living room is great. No longer do you have to sleep, eat and everything else in the presence of another person.

That's not even mentioning the fact that you can have your own private bathroom. Gone are the days where some random custodian starts pressure washing my hall-style bathroom while I'm in the shower.

Reality: Having my own place means I have to clean it.

That private sanctuary that you thought you could escape to isn't as relaxing once you see a mess that you left everywhere. The worst part is now you can't even can't even blame that on your roommate.

Also, as nice as it may be to be able to share alone now, I totally wish I could pay that custodian to come wash my sinks and toilets now. Cleaning your own bathroom may be one of the worst chores of adulthood.

Expectation: Now that I have a kitchen I'm totally going to cook more!

I'm not going to lie, the one thing I was most excited about moving off campus was the kitchen. I came into the year all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed thinking "I'm going to cook one of those meals from the Tasty videos on BuzzFeed every night and it'll be so delicious!"

Reality: Cooking takes so much time...

As a busy student, cooking actually takes so much time. I have to figure out a time to go to the grocery story and buy all of the ingredients (not to mention the time it takes to make a grocery list *sigh*) then find a recipe online, then actually cook the food and clean up afterwards.

It's just a lot, and it makes me appreciate just how awesome it is to be able to eat out and have someone else take care of all of that for you.

Expectation: Living off campus will be so much cheaper!

A major deciding factor for most people to live off campus is the price, and honestly that's pretty good. Most places broken down monthly will be way cheaper than the dorms in the long run, and you can live in an apartment with lots of amenities for a similar price too.

Reality: Dealing with bills makes a ton of stress.

What people don't tell you is that paying bills every month is stressful. It's expensive to just be alive and living in this life, y'all. Like, I have to pay money to have running water in my house, and humans literally need water to live. It's crazy.

Also, going back to the groceries, buying food is expensive too. At Harris Teeter, a honey-crisp apple costs $4. You can get a McPick Two, a whole meal, for the same price as this one little apple that's just a snack. The whole idea of paying for literally everything in your life is kind of daunting, and once you live off campus you have to start dealing with that.

So yeah, you may not appreciate a lot of these things living in the dorms now, but trust me when I say the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence.

You have your whole life to take on the responsibility of adulthood, but you can only live in a dorm room for four years. Maybe them a second thought before deciding to move off-campus next time.

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