Living on your own is a beautiful thing. For most people, that first taste of independence comes as an undergrad or graduate student in college. However, the decision to live on your own is a decision that shouldn’t be made carelessly. If you’re thinking about living in off-campus housing near Virginia Commonwealth University, read these tips to help get the most out of your off-campus experience.
Find a Roommate
You might be planning on living alone. If you can afford it, more power to you. Living alone is a pretty nice set up, but it gets expensive. This is where roommates come in handy. If you’re a broke undergrad or graduate student, you probably can’t afford a place of your own. But when you go in with a roommate or two, the costs drop significantly. Sure, you’re sharing, but you get a lot more space for a lot less money.
Friends are the obvious choice for roommates, but have you ever considered shacking up with an acquaintance? Oftentimes it’s easier to live with someone who isn’t your best friend. Talk to your classmates, your coworkers, and your professors, and tell them to keep an ear out for anyone else who’s looking for a roommate. You could post about it on social media or put an ad in your school’s newspaper.
Have a Budget
It should go without saying, but before you sign the lease and move into a new apartment, make sure you can actually afford it. Add up your monthly expenses. That includes rent, utilities, transportation costs, food, entertainment, and anything else you spend your money on. Subtract those expenses from your monthly income.
Sure, you might be getting a little help from your parents here and there. But unforeseen expenses always seem to come out of nowhere, and being able to handle them on your own is quite liberating. Visit VCU’s career services office and ask which campus offices are hiring. Check out the shops and restaurants in Downtown Richmond and ask if they’re hiring. Babysitting is another great option. You can usually find a few great families to help out in your own apartment community.
Take Advantage of Campus Amenities
Just because you live off campus doesn’t mean you can’t use all of the great amenities on campus. As a VCU student, you have access to the same things as on-campus residents.
Don’t become the kind of off-campus student who goes to class and heads straight home. Hang around campus during the day if you have a long break between classes. Attend events on campus. Purchase a customized meal plan so you can grab meals in between classes. Squeeze in a workout, attend a class, or join an intramural league at the gym. Stop by the health center if you’re feeling under the weather. If, like many students, you can’t focus while studying at home, hit the library.