A bed, a desk, a lamp, a television. These four items form the basis of the college living situation. Determining exactly how and where these things get arranged takes a considerable amount of time and energy, especially when it comes time to decide whether to continue to live on campus or to move away into an apartment off campus.
With the recent housing crisis regarding the over-acceptance of freshmen students over the past few years, an appraisal of what goes into living off campus in Blacksburg feels necessary. After all, more and more students will find themselves off campus as time goes by. With the recent decision by the university to drop the freshman requirement to live on campus for the entirety of their first year, Blacksburg would do well to anticipate a sudden influx of off-campus students in the coming semesters.
On that subject, the first semester that a student lives off campus is often an adventure in trial and error, blind speculation and nervous trust. When moving from a dorm (or lounge, motel or inn, as the case may be) to a full-fledged apartment, it becomes painfully clear that many of the conveniences and amenities that were afforded to students in those first few semesters are now gone or, at the very least, reduced. This is especially true for students who also forgo the expense of a meal plan and had up until that point depended on it.
Another expense that newly off-campus students tend to go without is a student parking pass, since having a car accessible to a campus dorm is not a necessity anymore and the Blacksburg Transit is more than adequate for getting these students from Point A to Point B. But remembering your preferred bus route is something these students just have to learn, and woe betide those that accidentally find themselves on the wrong bus, and thus deposited way off the mark somewhere in Blacksburg, meaning a lengthy trek on foot is the only way to go.
But none of this even begins to discuss the issue of living arrangements themselves.
You can’t just wake up a week before class and think to start living off campus; leases often need to be signed a whole six months before a planned move-in date. This is something to think about while planning to live off campus. Many apartments are not furnished on their own, so buying all of the things listed at the beginning of this article is going to be a major part of preparing for a new living situation, and one will do well to ascertain the location of some inexpensive pieces of furniture.
Then there’s grocery shopping –– and cooking. Look, there’s going to be more than one kitchen disaster in the first few months of being off campus. Not everyone is Gordon Ramsay, and that’s probably a good thing in the long run. Honestly, try cooking what you like. One never knows if they are capable of doing so unless they try, so try. Cooking is the least problematic thing involved in living off campus, so one might as well go nuts.
A change in environment brings with it an inevitable change in character and behavior. Off-campus living is no different. Most students have had the experience of an easily accessible world encapsulated in the Virginia Tech campus, but there comes a time when many students find that the freedom and affordability of an apartment is just too enticing to resist. It makes sense, after a while.
One comes away from living in the dorms expecting a radical change in living situation, and to a certain extent that is exactly what happens. But there are plenty of commonalities as well. For one thing, the fellowship is the same. Many students who have lived in dorms lived in suites, and apartment living has this communal dimension as well. Another thing is the simplicity. The problems one encounters living in dorms are, in the end, not all that different from those found in apartments. And if there is one thing that college students are well-equipped to deal with, it’s problems in their living situation.