Whether you spent one year or more living in the dorms, eventually most students move out of campus housing and in to an apartment. For the majority this is a first, so congratulations, and welcome home!
After a year of lofted beds, shared bathrooms, and a microwave on top of a mini-fridge being the closest thing to a kitchen, the prospect of moving in to an apartment can feel almost as exciting as leaving home. There are a million great things about apartment living during college, but there are three bad things that can happen for every good one if you don’t keep to certain guidelines.
Some people become best buds with their freshman year roommate, and for those people, moving in to an apartment together can seem like a no-brainer. While this works out well for a lot of people, remember: an apartment is not a dorm room! You guys are going to have to share a kitchen which means figuring how you’re going to divide the groceries – both as expenses and in the fridge – and believe you me, there WILL be arguments over who does the dishes. Another common make-it or break-it issue that you didn’t probably didn’t have to deal with in the dorms is the bathroom. This can be particularly testing on girls (I have seen more than one friendship take a blow from an argument over hair left in the shower). So, keep in mind that while living with your best friend(s) can be fun, it WILL put strain on the relationship.
A Study-Friendly Environment
Unless you’re the type of student that prefers to study at the library, chances are you’ll be doing a lot more than just hanging out at your apartment. For many, it’s where most schooling outside of the classroom happens. With this in mind, when you’re looking for an apartment, do your best to find a building that will be accommodating not just to your comfort, but to your concentration. Do your best to avoid places with paper-thin walls (you made the decision to live with your chosen roommates, not your neighbors). Make sure the building has a regularly scheduled cleaning service for the public areas (entryway, halls, etc), because it’s college, and chances are you will come home to someone having vomited outside your door at some point. If you don’t have a car or nearby public transportation straight to campus, do your best to find a location as close as possible to your classes. You’d be surprised how easy it is to convince yourself ‘I can just study from the book at home today’… for 20 days in a row.
Rule number one: Don’t put being a home-maker over being a student! Keep things clean and surfaces clear, take out the trash regularly and do the dishes every day. All you really need is a bed to sleep on, a table or desk to study at, and a couch to take some well-earned relaxation time on. Other than that, everything is just icing on the cake. A lot of people’s first when they move in to an apartment is to make it in to a home; in reality, minimalism will make your life far easier. That’s not to say you shouldn’t make your place look nice, just don’t make too many trips to Target, and stop looking at Pintrest! A whole life lesson can be taken from this: Home is about people, not about places. Make your apartment a place you like by filling it with people you love (or at least like a lot).
Without question, THE most important thing about apartment life with more than one person is the ‘house charter’. Before you even sign that lease, sit down with your roommate(s) to-be and physically write down a list of rules; when is appropriate to have girlfriends/boyfriends over, use a dish wash a dish, no noise in the main living area after a certain hour, setting a day for cleaning, etc etc etc. This will be your bible, your constitution, and quite possibly the only thing that keeps from each other’s throats at times. Have it written down or printed out and posted in a main area. You can thank me later
Despite the theoretical downfalls to living in an apartment with partners, having somewhere to call your own is one of the most amazing feelings out of all the growing up you’ll do in college, responsibilities and all. #Adulting