Living on campus in a dorm is a lot of fun. Your friends live so close to you, you can be social at any hour of the night, and you only have to leave five minutes to get to class on time (unless you are going to the loop). It may not be your own personal space, you might have roommates, and a Resident Advisor is technically in charge, but it is still a room of your own that is not your parent’s property. It is freedom for the first time.
Living off campus is a whole new type of freedom. You feel like a real adult. It is very stressful going to see open houses and filling out paperwork to sign for an apartment but it is so rewarding. I lived in an off-campus apartment, about a 10-minute walk to the Lincoln Park campus, my sophomore year of college and it was about the best thing that could have happened. I ended up staying for my junior year too because my apartment was just perfect.
Freshman year is a year of discovery, seeing who you are outside of your family and usual friends. Sophomore year, at least for me, was the year of being a real adult. I had to figure out rent, utilities, and grocery shopping. I had to make sure I wear presentable clothes to class because I’m walking around in the real world, not just on the DePaul campus. I had to leave time to walk to class. I had to fit grocery shopping into my schedule, meal-planning, and cooking, in order to have food for the week.
Although it may be stressful, living off campus is definitely rewarding and totally worth it. I feel like I understand “adulting” more than I did living in a dorm. I assume not being in college will make living in an apartment different because I’ll have to juggle money and job-hunting, but it is good to know that I have the basics down of how to get an apartment and how to live in one. Once it is time for me to graduate, I feel as if I can handle the real world a little better.