Graduate student reveals the pluses and minuses of living off – campus

By Grace Murphy
Web Editor

Spring is nearly upon us. Along with the new season comes yearly conversations amongst freshmen, sophomores and juniors about which dorm or height they want to live in and who they plan to live with.

A smaller population of students who have reached the age of 21, have senior credit status or have obtained special permission may elect to move off-campus.

Veronica Novotny, a grad student who also completed her undergrad at Franciscan, has experienced both on and off-campus living. She moved off-campus her senior year of college and is in her second year of living off the hill.

Novotny said that her biggest motivation for moving off-campus was finances.

“The big thing was financially, I’ve gotten to save a lot of money through moving off-campus and take out less student loans. It’s been a lot cheaper,” said Novotny.

In addition to saving money, Novotny mentioned other advantages of living off-campus.

“I got to make my own food and I really like cooking so it is nice to have a kitchen and my own room and living space and a place to host people,” she said.

Though she enjoys more financial freedom and the ability to have her own space, Novotny said there were many cons to living off-campus as well. Some of the cons she listed included parking, easily having people over and knowing what is going on on-campus.

“I definitely feel disconnected more now in a lot of ways from campus life … it feels like it involves more effort to have to leave, pack up my bags and come to campus for an event,” Novotny added.

In addition, Novotny had some advice for students considering moving off campus.

Novotny said she has had twelve different housemates and two different houses and landlords since her move off-campus. She said that she recommends having conversations with housemates before moving in to lay out rules and expectations for living together.

She also said that she advises having someone review your lease before you sign it and having everyone you live with sign a separate lease and pay their shares of the rent separately. Novotny said she initially had to be the person to pay the landlord and collect rent money from her fellow roommates and it added a lot of stress to her life.

“I signed the lease on the first house that I lived in and I had read the … copy of what their lease had been, but then the landlord had changed it a little bit and so I didn’t consult my parents or anybody about the updated version of the lease before I signed it and there were definitely things that were odd about it. I would recommend, if you have the option, to have everyone sign their own lease and pay your own rent,” said Novotny.

When asked if loosening off-campus living requirements might be a possible for solution for housing shortages on campus, Novotny said she did see it as a possible solution.

She said, “I definitely think that that might be one of the easiest solutions in terms of simple, immediate ways to free up space on-campus … to allow juniors who are 21—so currently it is seniors who are 21—to live off-campus. So I think that allowing anyone who is at the age of 21 to live off-campus might be a good solution.”

Overall, Novotny said that there were both negatives and positives to moving off-campus. While students might be tempted with the freedom of living off the hill, they should carefully consider all the aspects of living outside the campus community.