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For those of you in apartments...

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking about moving off campus into an apartment for next semester. My friend lives there now but she's going to be graduating, and I'm debating about going in there after her.

It's a sectioned off area of a woman's house - it has a small kitchen, good sized bedroom, large living room and a large bathroom. Furnished. It's $500/mo including heat/hot water/electricity, and in addition to that I'd have to pay for a phone/cable/internet bundle - but even with that it's still cheaper than what my room/board costs here per month (~$740) for a double style room.

It's about 10 minutes off campus. Oh, and it's cat-friendly! However, having never lived in an apartment or alone, I was hoping some of you could offer me some advice/tips for living alone, or if you lived/are living off campus, some pros/cons of it?

post #2 of 14
Not sure, but i am going to live alone from october onwards

I dont think its too bad, mine is the same price as yours except i pay 500 Euros a month, For me it would be better rather than living in a campus but thats just me!
post #3 of 14
I'd never lived alone before me and my ex split at the beginning of last year, but I love it!! It's just me and the kitties, and they never steal the remote The only part i hate is having to carry in store purchases by myself those bags of litter are heavy! I've always been a bit of a loner anyway, but I can honestly say I never get lonely or anything, if I had the internet at home I'd probably never venture out into society
post #4 of 14
I lived in my own apartment for 2 years and I loved it! I did have my husband (then boyfriend) over to visit a lot, but even when he wasn't there I really enjoyed the time to myself.
post #5 of 14
There's the obvious pro/con of its not as easy to be involved in extracurriculars when you live off campus, but if you're the type of person who is naturally social or the type that just doesn't care about interaction, then it will be fine. If you're more in the middle like I was, you'll have to force yourself to go out to campus events a little.

Of course the pros are you don't have al the non-sensical on campus rules. of course this woman may have a few of her own since you will technically be living in her home.

As for living alone, just have an awareness. No reason to be scared, but no reason to be naive either. Make sure your doors and windows are secure, keep something in your bedroom at night that you can get to (pepper spray, baseball bat, etc), and know your emergency numbers. Doesn't hurt to know your neighbors when you're living alone too, but it sounds like you'll have a live-in neighbor that you'll have to get to know.
post #6 of 14
I lived for three years on campus in a dorm, and this is my third year living off campus - one with other people and these last few years by myself. So here go some pros and cons of on and off campus living.

Pros for on campus
- You're right on campus, and you can leave for class 5 minutes before it starts, go home after class, and go back out for your next one.
- You don't have to consider driving or bus schedules to get to campus, and you don't have to worry about traffic surrounding campus.
- You're more likely to get to know people around you and it may be easier for you to get yourself involved in extracurricular stuff.
- At least here at A&M, there is a pretty good sense of community in on-campus living. If you want to go to dinner with someone, you can grab a neighbor and go, which I haven't done since I moved off.

- Lack of privacy
- Often lack the ability to really "personalize" the space with shelves and such
- Here pets aren't allowed on campus, but that doesn't seem to be the case at your school, right?

Pros of off-campus living
- Privacy
- A kitchen!!! (at least here)
- More freedom to personalize the space

- Takes longer to get to class
- Responsibility of paying seperate bills
- Possible isolation from campus activities
- More difficult to go home/have lunch at home inbetween classes due to travel time

Overall, I'm glad that I lived on campus those first three years. I made a lot of friends and did a lot of things on campus that established myself there for when I moved off. But I've loved living off campus these last few years and having pets, and my own bedroom and kitchen and such. Its harder to run home when I've forgotten something or to eat lunch and such, and bills are a major pain, but you've got to grow up sometime. I hope that helped some!
post #7 of 14
I've lived alone for 7 years now & I'm not sure if I could ever go back to sharing my space with someone. I will admit it was lonely at first, but have a cats helps. I'd say the most important thing is to have activities with other people you can talk to. Not just school or work, but other social activities too. I've just gotten so used to it that I love living alone. When my sister is in town, or I'm at my parents I find my self getting annoyed at having to share the remote. (I may never get married for just that reason. ) But on a serious note, keep in mind that if you take a kitty you are making a 15 year commitment and where you go kitty should go.
post #8 of 14
I have never lived on campus, only off. I didn't want to live on campus because of the no privacy thing, the fact that its so expensive (my apartment which was fully furnished with a kitchen and living room was $80 a week and on campus was about $800 per month), roommates and the college i went to was in the middle of nowhere so i was so far from everything. I am going back to a different college in January and I am going to be off campus again. I wont be by myself though, I cant stand to be alone.
post #9 of 14
I lived on campus for one school year, and then got an apartment with some friends. It was a 15 minute walk to school, which was hard in winter, but it was TOTALLY worth it. We had our own kitchen, privacy, the ability to personalize our space, and the best thing: no public showers. shudder.
I've never lived alone, admittedly. Now, I live in a 1 br apt with my boyfriend and our cat. But I wouldn't move back into the dorms for anything. The first roommate I had was AWFUL. we hated each other- still do, actually- and she moved out after 1 semester. I picked my second roommate and that went great, but I still hated certain aspects of campus life.

but now, the cons.
I do miss having all of my friends practically next door. I miss being around for evening events and groups. I miss the closeness of everyone. I miss the carefree feeling, not having to pay rent, not having to get up an hour before class, being able to walk everywhere.

But as I said, I wouldn't go back.
post #10 of 14
I lived on-campus my first year of university, and I've lived off ever since (well, okay, I don't go to school now, so of course I don't live on-campus! ). I think it's a good idea to live on-campus for your first year, especially if you're from quite a ways away, because it forces you to meet new people and gives you a closer view of university/college life. I know if I had lived off-campus my first year, I would never have bothered to get to know anyone -- I'm a loner by nature, and I just would have stayed at home. Living on-campus with a roommate in a close-knit residence enabled me to break out of my shell a bit.

After first year, I think you should do whatever makes you happiest. For me, that was living off-campus. Residence was great and all, but I need my privacy, and I was tired of being forced to participate in the various games, parties and activities that my residence always seemed to be having.

A few pointers, from someone who's been there:
* meet your future landlords beforehand and get a feel for them. How involved are they going to be in your daily life? (If you're living in their house and they live there, too, they could be really involved!) How involved do you want them to be? What are their policies on late nights, drinking, smoking, overnight guests, etc?
* if it's at all possible, try to speak to previous tenants of your landlord. What did they think of the landlord? How quickly did problems like leaky toilets or burnt-out lights get fixed? Was the landlord intrusive? Why are the previous tenants moving out? (If there's bad blood between the previous tenants and the landlord you might get mixed messages, but it's good to know now.)
* try to keep up an open communication with your landlord. We had a problem with another tenant in our building regarding our cats, and we discussed it with our landlady -- her solution was to install a pretty french door in our living room, to keep the cats out of there at night so they wouldn't wake up the downstairs tenant. If you keep things friendly -- and try to always keep property values in mind and show that you take an interest in maintaining their home -- you ought to stay on good terms with your landlord.
* make sure to check the security of doors and windows before you move in. If screens are loose or the lock on the door sticks, find out if your landlord can have it fixed before you move in. If they're not interested in fixing things and ensuring your safety, I'd find someplace else to live.
* if you're living alone and female, get a male friend to leave the voicemail message on your phone (or just opt for the generic one the phone company provides), and make sure to have yourself listed only by your first initial and last name (eg. J. Smith) -- nobody needs to know you live alone.
* look into having security lights installed over your front door (the kind that turn on automatically when triggered by motion); that way, you can leave them on all day and they'll turn on when you get home -- they'll also turn on if somebody else shows up at your door.
* make sure you have a telephone in your bedroom, right by your bed, even if it's just your cellphone. That way if there's an emergency at night, you have quick access to assistance.
* my dad had me keep a wooden baseball bat under my bed when I lived alone. I never used it, but just having it there made me feel safer.
* if you make any changes to the apartment, make sure to check with your landlord first (especially if they're major changes, like painting) and always keep the receipt -- a lot of landlords will let you deduct minor repairs from the rent, so long as you provide proof of purchase. (A lot of landlords will also let you paint if you promise to restore the apartment to its original colours before you move out -- but check first!) We replaced the mailbox and installed a security light instead of the regular porch light, and took those costs out of our rent, with our landlady's approval. For other things (like installing funky doorknobs in place of the old boring ones, or swapping a cushioned toilet seat instead of the hard, cold plastic one) just make sure to keep the ones that came with the house, and re-install them when you move out.

The most important thing about living on your own (whether completely alone, with a family or other renters, or with your friends) is to be aware of your own personal security. If something about the apartment could put your health at risk, you have to let your landlord know. I found living alone to be both scary and empowering; as a result, I can fix pretty much anything (previous landlords have been all but useless at home repairs), I know how to take care of myself, and I learned to be comfortable on my own.

Whew, I'm long-winded! Guess I must be bored at work or something ...
post #11 of 14
Pros for off-campus living:

Quieter living. You only have to deal with the roommate's noise instead of entire rooms.
Your own furniture instead of one-size-fits all rooms.
Ability to have an irregular schedule.
Ability to have cats, certain appliances, and candles.
Things get stolen less as often.
Food is cheaper, more abundant, and you can cook your own.
Price per square footage is often 1/10 of the dorm price.


You have to be absolutely certain that you trust your roommate, because you can always be left paying for all utilities and rent. He/she could do something to your property or pets. There is no way you can make your roommate pay for something. Eviction of a roommate is extremely difficult, and can possibly cause violent consequences to occur.

Further from campus (although if you have a bicycle, it does not matter).

You have to get expensive cable/internet to satisfy all parties.

Less safety compared to in the dorms.

More isolation from campus activities. It is especially a problem if you are in grad school, because you don't have time/money to make friends.
post #12 of 14
Honestly, my suggestion to you if your are able- take your money, and invest in your future by buying a house- i know it sounds like a shocking piece of advice....but studies show that 20 somethings that invest early and buy houses do better off later in will also be able to show lenders,etc that you are reliable and your credit score will go up. Also - since it would be your first time purschasing a home- you can qualify for a first time home owner loan- they're awesome. Get a fixed rate so it doesn't increase over time...and when you think about it- when you pay rent, you pretty much throwing your money away- no investment, no profit from your money....when you purchase a house you are making an investment in your future, making your money work for you, helping your credit score, and taking charge of your financial future...and you can do anything you want with your own home- decorate, garden, take your pets with you. Did i mention, any investment you make in your home would increase the value of it??? and if you were to sell it down the road- you would be able to make a great profit!!! I noticed you are going to school in NY. I know it's hard to find houses there, but you can always find an apartment to buy. Good luck whatever you decide - definitely think about purchasing your own place- some places don't even require a down payment....or a very low one if you do and you can pay it in installments....also, rent might be a hundred or so more a month...but it's an investment in your future. Realestate is the most profitable way to make a great investment now days. I really suggest stepping out on a limb and investing in your future- i know it sounds scarry- but it will help you prosper financially in the future. Good luck whatever you choose! I'm sending you lots of vibes
post #13 of 14
Livong off campus is divine. Living ALONE off campus has got to be pure heaven. biggest pieces of advice for you are to get to know your neighbors a little. If everyone lives alone, then people are usually pretty friendly and open. It's good to do this, should you ever have an emergency. As far as companionship goes, I'm happy as a clam with my babies and no people to fight with (I'm an only-cat...haha, I need my space). Set aside one afternoon a week for cleaning, which includes your fridge.

Um....that's all I have. I love love LOVE living by myself.
post #14 of 14
Originally Posted by lionessrampant View Post
(I'm an only-cat...haha, I need my space)..
lol you are too cute! You crack me up
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