The Pros and Cons of Living Off Campus

Here at Edinburgh Uni, we don't really have a choice in terms of living on or off campus after our first year- we're pretty much forced to live in non-student accommodation. Still, since moving into my flat this year, and living here for almost two months now, I've come to realize that there are some very significant advantages to apartment life- but there are definitely some drawbacks as well.

Your meals are healthier and more varied (if you make the effort) 
While the dining hall last year made the question of "what's for dinner?" as easy as could be, those unlimited sweet potato fries and endless soda fountains weren't too kind on my waistline. Being in control of what I eat has been a major factor in my personal health this year- there's no pasta with cream sauce to tempt my tastebuds as long as I don't keep any in the flat. With this newfound mealtime independence, it's no wonder that avocados are always on the menu- as is wine.  

I couldn't just choose one photo sorry.

But... Shopping, cooking, and cleaning up takes a lot longer than you might think
Back in halls, I could easily be in and out of the dining hall in under a half an hour, leaving me plenty of time to have an early start on my work in the evenings. But unless I'm ordering in food, making some type of instant meal (*cringe*), or heating up leftovers, I'd be lucky if I could cook a nutritious meal in that amount of time. It's also important to factor in the time it takes to walk to and from the grocery store and pick up everything I need- and that's not even considering the possibility that I might have to go to a second shop to buy anything they didn't have in stock. Also, not that I'm living the dishwasher-less life, I've learned to properly clean dishes. Yes, that's right folks, I- the girl who has to be told multiple times to simply put my plate in the dishwasher at home- actually pick up a sponge and find myself elbows deep in soap and water on a regular basis. Shocking, isn't it?

Your apartment (probably) has more character
Let's be real- if you live in on-campus student accommodation, you most likely live in a box. At least, that's how my room was last year. White walls, matching furniture, and a single tiny window. Ah, those were the days (not). What made matters even worse about these box rooms is that everyone's room is the same- it kind of freaks me out to walk into one of my friends rooms that has the exact same set up. Now I consider myself very lucky to be living in a flat that's just bursting with character. The details of my room- from the molding on the ceiling, to the old fashioned doorknobs, to the butler buzzers by the fireplace- make the flat a lot more home-y than our hospital-like rooms last year.

It's the little things in life.
But... You won't have the best washer/dryer system
I was actually quite horrified when I realized that my flat didn't have a dryer. Was I seriously supposed to air dry my dripping wet clothes? I really should've known better considering I go to school in Europe, but the idea of not having something that I deemed so necessary was completely foreign to me. Even though it was kind of annoying to pay £3 every time I had a pile of dirty clothes, I honestly miss the luxury of having toasty socks to put on when the temperatures start to drop.  

A tragedy.

You feel more like an adult
Living with so much responsibility has definitely come with a steep learning curve. Once I moved into my flat, I realized how many life skills I didn't have. Of course, my parents did properly prepare me to an extent- but there's only so much they could teach me before throwing me into the deep end of adulthood. And while they're only a text of FaceTime call away, I prefer to not nag my parents every time I have a question or problem. And that's where Google comes in. If you look through my recent searches it probably looks like something along the lines of "how long do mushrooms keep for," "how to air dry jeans in one day," and "cheap meals that don't include pasta." But despite my lack of intuition, I'm really glad that I'm learning these skills- and learning them a lot earlier on in my life than I ever expected I would.

I kid you not!

But... You're in charge of paying your bills on time
And along with that adult-like feeling, living off campus provides you with the lovely burdens of adulthood as well. Gas and electric need to be paid- and on time. And what's more is that you can't just take super hot shower for a half an hour because you feel like it- unless you're willing to pay for it. It may be difficult, but it's important to realize that every light you flick on, and every second you leave the tap running factors into your bill at the end of the month. So if you're still living on campus, take advantage of those extended showers while you can!

How cute/awkward.

Much like any decision you make in life, there are advantages and disadvantages. I'd say that over all, I enjoy living in an off campus flat far more than I did living in halls. I think what it comes down to for me is that there's really nothing like waking up in a place that truly feels like a home, even when you're 3,000 miles away from the place you've called home all your life.

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