The benefits of living off campus

One of the perks of being a senior at Luther is the option to live off-campus during your senior year.  Students in groups up to 6 have the option to apply to live off-campus and it is determined by how many credit hours you have earned by the end of January-Term during your junior year. I was fortunate enough to be approved to live off campus, so a group of friends and I signed a lease to live in a house in Decorah for the school year.

There are many perks to living off campus, but there are also some disadvantages that I have come to realize as I am wrapping up my senior year. To begin, living off campus assured me that I would have my own room, I could stay up as late as I want and not have to worry about waking up a roommate, I could cook my own meals (If I could actually cook this would be a great one), can listen to music as loud as I want, etc. These are some pretty great perks to living off campus, and I have definitely enjoyed them. However, when I think about it, I am missing out on some really nice perks to living on campus as well. When you are underclassmen, especially when you live in the towers, your entire class is all around you. You see people every day, you feel like you’re in the “loop”, you have a custodian cleaning your bathroom, you have a meal plan so you don’t have to worry about cooking food, and you don’t have to walk or drive to campus every day (even though Decorah is small enough that walking only takes about 10 minutes for me, it doesn’t compare to waking up 10 minutes before your class and running out the door)

I do think that living off campus has taught me something about preparing for the “real world” as I am about to enter it in a few short months. It has taught me how to manage my money with groceries, rent, utilities (and really identifying my needs vs. wants in purchases). It has taught me how to live with people that I am not necessarily compatible with, and how to adjust my living habits to meet the overall needs of the house. It has been a challenging year getting used to sharing a space with 4 other people and finding the time to do my chores, take out the trash/recycling, clean up after myself, and do my dishes. But I’d rather experience these things now, rather than be a College graduate and be expected to know how to do everything on my own. I think that’s a huge disadvantage to living on campus during your senior year. You get very little practice with everyday life skills like cleaning a toilet, fixing a leak, or remembering to take out the trash every Wednesday morning.  

Although this year has had its ups and downs as far as a living situation, I don’t think I would go back and choose the option to live on campus during my senior year. I think that these past 7 months have proved to be more than rewarding and I am glad that I decided to live off campus.

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