Taking the Leap and Moving Off Campus

Hey everyone! It’s been a long summer since the last time I’ve posted. My summer was quite productive, but I’ll talk about that in a later post. To kick off this new semester, I had quite the interesting week and a half.

For the rest of my college career, I will no longer be living on campus in dorms. My friends and I acquired an apartment on the east side of campus because all of us are either art or engineering students, and it’s much more convenient for us to live in that area. We now live incredibly close to all of our classes, only half a street away from a metro stop, and only a short walk’s distance to the Loop. The rent was also incredibly cheap for such a prime location.

Unfortunately, money-saving does come with some drawbacks. The duplex is almost a century old, and it comes with all the quirks that plague ancient buildings. The previous tenants did not seem to have cleaned up at all, and our landlord was in the hospital for quite a while this summer and unable to get any work done. So when I arrived from the airport, it was to an apartment that had cobwebs in all corners and a thick layer of dust coating everything. From someone who had gotten used to the luxury of South 40 dorms in the past two years, it was quite the shock. I have to admit that for quite a while, I intensely regretted our decision to move out.

However, when one of my roommates arrived a few hours later with her mother, we got down to work. After picking up all of our boxes from storage, we stayed up the whole night vacuuming, mopping, and clorox-wiping every room. For the next 5 days before classes started, we pulled a Studio Ghibli on our apartment, cleaning as much as we could and sorting through our items. It was a douse of cold adulthood for everyone. I have never scrubbed so much in my life or dealt with so many cobwebs firsthand.

Even after all this cleaning, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Our landlord’s maintenance guy has been running in and out fixing things for us, and even so, we still had a long list of requests. There are some leaky faucets, the cooling system has to be looked at, and the one thing we didn’t expect to break down, our new stove and unused oven, are being extremely temperamental. Our landlord is even paying for us to hire a professional cleaning service to run through the apartment and clean everything we can’t. There have been quite a few bugs and spiders as well, and we’ve dealt with them as well as a group of girls terrified of anything with more than 4 legs can: with lots of screaming and panicked vacuuming.

I’ve also learned much about an insect I’ve never seen before moving here: the house centipede. I now live in fear.

This sounds like a terrible deal, I have to admit. But I think that in about 2 weeks once maintenance is finally complete and the cleaning crew finishes their job, this will all pay off. We’re already enjoying the benefits of off-campus life. We are saving thousands of dollars, for one, and we can eat much healthier when we’re not limited to dorms and dorm food, as delicious as BD food was. We also live 5 minutes from our classes, and travelling across St. Louis is much faster now that a metro stop is a 2 minute walk rather than a 15 minute one. Even many of our friends are still close, since many people move off campus in their junior year like we did.

I’ve also discovered some unexpected perks. Shipped packages now come directly to our front door rather than to a mailroom, making large packages much easier to handle. We no longer have to worry about our ice cream being stolen from a communal freezer. Our bedrooms are absolutely huge, and I have so much room to move around. We won’t ever again have to panic in February when the housing lottery starts because we can just extend our lease.

Do I miss living in dorms? Yes, I have to say that having housekeeping and a dining hall is both convenient and luxurious, and I’ve been absolutely spoiled by WashU’s dorm quality. But there’s a reason that many juniors move off-campus to surrounding apartments. Every time I come back to this apartment, it feels more and more like home. And even the downsides have the advantage of teaching me more about adult life outside of school, so that when I finally graduate and truly enter the work field, I’ll have learned a lot that I never would have experienced on campus.