To Dorm or Not to Dorm– Pros and Cons of Living off Campus

Adulting should be optional

After living in a house off campus for almost two months and spending all of my first year in the dorms (Teter’s Tight!), I am starting to realize there are a lot of things I took for granted about living on campus. Don’t get me wrong, I love my housemates and my house, but living off campus has its disadvantages. Here are some things to think about when deciding between living in the dorms or branching out to off-campus housing.

Living off campus RULES because…

…there are no stairs!

Moving in at my house this year probably took a fourth of the time it took to move in my dorm last year. Not only because we weren’t competing with a million other eager freshmen and their families for those handy moving carts, but also because there are no stairs in my house. I didn’t have to drag all of my things up the stairs when I moved in, I don’t have to climb the stairs when I am exhausted after class, I don’t have to struggle with my groceries in the stairwell, and when I come home from a weekend at home I don’t have to wrestle with everything I made my mom buy me at Target.

I don't always carry all the groceries on one arm but when I do, my keys are in the wrong pocket

BUT it kind of doesn’t rule because….

…there are no naps between class.

Living off campus, I can’t just take little cat naps between those awkward breaks that are too short to use for studying. Since I knew I wasn’t going to make the journey to and from campus more than once a day, I blocked my classes closely together to avoid having a lot of down time. But on those days when a class gets cancelled or lets out early, I sometimes wish I could still climb up the stairs at Teter Rabb and snuggle up in my extra-long twin bed for twenty minutes or so. Instead, I buy another cup of coffee.

Living off campus RULES because…

… I have a kitchen!

Last year I was lucky enough to live on a floor with a kitchen, so we got to do a lot more cooking than other students that live in dorms. However, we had a limitted selection of pots and pans, and we had to carry all of our personal supplies down the hall and back. Having my own, accessible kitchen has been one of my favorite things about my house so far. My boyfriend and I make dinner almost every night. My best friends and I have baked amazing, terrible desserts including the ones pictured below (pumpkin spice no-bake cookies ,people).

A tray full of cookies

BUT it kind of doesn’t rule because…

… sometimes I don’t feel like cooking. 

Yes, it can be really fun to put on an apron and play chef every once in a while, but sometimes cooking for myself can be a real pain. Sometimes I come home after a long day and wish that all I’d have to do is walk across the street to Wright and get some soup and a salad. Luckily, I decided to the smallest meal plan available so I can eat on campus for lunch. I highly recommend that anyone planning to live off campus does this.

Living off campus RULES because…

… I have so much more privacy. 

When I was living in the dorms, I hardly ever had a moment to myself. With my roommate and my floormates coming in and out of my room and everyone being so close, privacy was almost nonexistent. In my house, I have my own room and my roommates have their own rooms. If I want to be alone or need some peace and quiet, it is much easier to do in my house than it was living on a floor full of girls.

BUT it kind of doesn’t rule because…

… I get lonely. 

When I lived in the dorms, I was constatnly surrounded by my best friends. If my roommate was in class or with her boyfriend, I could just walk down the hall and talk to the hilarious, fun-loving girls on my floor. If they were in class, I could just cross the street and see my best friend since the sixth grade. Now, if my roommates are gone I am home all alone. I would have to get in my car and drive across town to see any of my other friends. Not being steps away from the amazing girls I was blessed to live with in Teter on the fab Rab 2 is by far the biggest con of living in my own house off campus.

Friends posing for a group picture

Marah Harbison
Marah Harbison

Aspiring journalist, Irish dancer, IU 2016

My name is Marah Harbison, and I was born and raised in Floyds Knobs, Indiana, a suburb of Louisville, Kentucky. I am studying journalism and arts administrations at Indiana University, and I am a member of the Hutton Honors College. I have been a competitive Irish dancer since I was five, competing at the world level. I hope to one day own a dance school while doing PR for an arts organization. I currently am the Irish dance instructor at Bloomington United Arts.

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