It’s been about five months since I left my apartment in the south wing on the fourth floor of “1300.” How I long to be there again.
If you haven’t already guessed, living off campus is dreadful. Well, it’s not that bad, but it does have its disadvantages. As I found out two weeks ago, there are more negative than positive aspects when it comes to living off campus.
All the things you used to take for granted somehow have warped themselves into grand luxuries. While all the things you never pictured yourself doing in college have become second nature, such as paying bills on time.
Living off campus has forced me to become an adult way before my time. Granted I am 21, but for the past three years I’ve been living on campus, my mother has been paying tuition along with the help of financial aid, and I have gone ‘home’ to New York on all my breaks.
This year I commute to school. I haven’t seen ‘home’ since the second week in September, and my first paycheck is all going toward bills. I resent the fact that I have to live off campus this year, not because the ‘luxuries’ are now gone, but because the realities of the real world hitting me as a vulnerable college student rather than as an established career woman. And who would have thought Temple would be the perpetrator of all this?
When I first found out before my senior year that Temple would no longer be housing upperclassmen, I immediately started to think about all the negative things I would now have to deal with, and I grew terribly cynical of Temple.
I started looking for an apartment and eventually my friends and I found a really cheap place in Germantown. Things were starting to look up, finally. Three months later we moved in, and this is where the story unfolds.
I’ve been living in my apartment for about two months and I still have mixed emotions. For one, I can’t wake up 40 minutes before class, take a shower, choose an outfit, walk to class and still make it there two minutes before the professor shows up. Now I have to buy weekly transpasses, wake up at 6:20 a.m. so I can get ready and walk to the R7 to catch the train to get to my 8:40 a.m. class.
I no longer have the luxury of pressing the snooze button, and still making it to class on time. The extra hour of sleep I was accustomed to while living on campus would now seem like a godsend.
In addition, I have to worry about safety within my neighborhood. Before I would see three Temple police cars patrolling the campus within an hour, and now I have to depend on my little can of mace to keep me safe.
Living on campus made me feel at ease about my safety, but now I have to be solely responsible for my well being. I cannot hold Temple police accountable for my safety any longer.
But the absolute worst thing about living off campus is paying bills. The rent is due on the first of the month, the electric and gas bills are due midmonth and the cable bill is due at the end of the month, which includes extra fees for DSL. The worst part about it is they send you these pieces of paper called “bills” every single month.
So, you’re probably thinking it can’t be that bad, there has to be something good about living off campus. You’re right – there are some perks. You don’t have to worry about RAs knocking on your door because you’re making noise, or fining you because you didn’t leave your room for the fire drill.
Apart from not having to worry about RAs, another good side of living off campus is that you don’t need a guest card to sign guests in. You also don’t have to wait in long lines just to get your ID swiped, but you do have to open about four locks before you’re actually in your house. So maybe that’s a draw. The absolute best thing about living off campus: you don’t have to deal with all the pointless campus drama that seems to manifest in Temple dorms.
Living off campus forces you to deal with the actual real world, unlike the MTV-based drama. Although there are some perks, you have to prepare yourself to deal with all the realities that are going to come rushing toward you.
Just look at it this way, if you’re a freshman or sophomore, you still have a couple of months before you have to make the journey off campus. Cherish it.
Aishah Alassan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.