We all have been there, trying to brush your teeth whilst another Copeland resident fights their demons in the stall adjacent to you. Perhaps, the thrice worn clothes sitting in your second hamper since you said farewell to your parents have reached the ceiling, but the laundry machines are all booked for what looks like the remainder of the week. Maybe you and your three month situationship are tired of the twin bed, or you are sick of having to perform your witch rituals clandestinely. Whatever your gripes are with your on-campus living situation, an alternative exists: offcampus living.
Living off-campus can function as an escape from the nuisances of yesteryear, but like all else in capitalist society, it will cost you. How much, you ask? According to Rent.com, the average rental price for an apartment in Portland is $1,217 for a studio, $1,494 for a one-bedroom and $1,795 for a two-bedroom apartment. If your pockets are a little more flush, according to Rentometer, the average rental price for a four bedroom house is $3,406. Some rentals and grocery expenditures amount to less than the room and board offered by the college, saving you money.
As an off-campus student with some skin in the game, I can attest to the glory and shortcomings of the lifestyle. For one, not being under the nose of a resident advisor brings a sense of autonomy and freedom. No longer will you suffer from a dirty bong all because you do not want to get caught stinking up the sinks in the dormitories or stop your punk band rehearsal due to quiet hours and the next-door neighbor’s complaints (she doesn’t see the vision).
Ultimately, no one is policing you except for, well, the police, sort of. Other benefits include: not running into your ex as often, a needlessness for shower shoes and the ability to throw a rager. Depending on location, there may also be interesting opportunities such as nightlife, thrift stores, parks and other amusements within walking distance.
However, with all this newfound freedom and autonomy comes quite a bit of responsibility and change. The Trader Joe’s frozen section becomes a frequent hangout, cleaning becomes a necessity and paying bills becomes a headache. Due to potential commute times nearing an hour daily, this living arrangement is best suited for those with wheels. Landlords are not always the best with upkeep either, so the condition of any potential space should be assessed thoroughly. A sense of isolation can loom large. That’s right, you will be alone, so bring some friends.
With some advantages and disadvantages in mind, it is time to consider whether off-campus living is the right step for you. So get out there and explore your options!