First World Problems

I have a love hate relationship with my on campus living situation. Like many entry level professionals, I am required to live on campus in an apartment located in one of the residence halls. So basically I moved back into the dorms after five years of NOT living in them.

When I started looking for graduate assistantships, I loved the idea of provided housing. It meant I didn’t have to apartment hunt in a city I was unfamiliar with. THis was also true for when I was looking for my first big kid job. Another bonus is not having to pay rent. Some schools require that you pay a small amount but the numbers I’ve heard have always been ridiculously low, like $50 a month or something.

This brings me to another point. Apartments can vary greatly from campus to campus. Some of my friends have two or even THREE bedroom apartments. Others have a one bedroom apartment the size of a large closet. Even on the same campus there can be some drastic differences. The apartment I lived in my second year of grad school was much smaller than the one from my first year. Most schools will show you an apartment during your on campus interview, but at some larger schools, it might not be your exact apartment. I actually like my current apartment. It’s one bedroom, but both the bedroom and living room are pretty big.

Another bonus is not having to pay for utilities. That means I can blast my AC and take long, hot showers and not have to pay for it later. Sorry, environment. I also have cable and internet provided. It’s a pretty sweet deal. I also don’t have some scummy landlord. If something is wrong in my apartment, I contact my school’s facilities department.

So, this whole live on professional gig seems pretty sweet, right? Well. Because you are living on campus, you can be subjected to a lot of different rules. Some aren’t so different from renting an apartment off campus, like rules controlling painting your walls or owning pets. Some college specific rules could include not having candles or how much alcohol can be in your apartment. Yes. One school I interviewed at specified how much alcohol I was allowed to have. No. Not cool. Also, some schools don’t let your spouse/significant other/child live with you. That can pose a problem if you’re in a committed relationship.

An issue that doesn’t seem to be discussed much is what happens if you get promoted or move to a different department at the same institution. If you already live off campus, this is a no brainer. You don’t need to move unless you got a substantial pay raise and decide you WANT to move. If you are moving out of  a live in role, you are FORCED to move. What’s worse (and this is a total first world problem) your pay increase for a promotion is most likely NOT going to equal the amount you are now going to be paying in rent which means you are getting promoted but taking home less money. Womp womp.

While there are definite cons to my current living situation, I enjoy my short commute, the ability to throw more money at my student loans, and my FREE AIR CONDITIONING. I recently visited a friend for a weekend and his apartment did not have AC. It was so hot that my lipstick started melting it it’s tube and I had to keep it in the fridge. Granted, he has a much bigger room than me…I guess you win some and you lose some.

For those of you living on campus, what do you like about your situation? Dislike? For those of you older and wiser, how did you adjust to moving off campus?

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6 thoughts on “First World Problems

  1. I work 30 hours a week on study abroad opportunities and international students. Prior to the start of my 2nd (and final year) in my grad program, I was offered free housing – for a very spacious two bedroom unit in the international house. However, the free housing would require: paying my own utilities; mowing the lawn; no alcohol; no people of opposite gender (family, significant other, etc.) overnight; shoveling the snow; cleaning the house (which had been left in disarray by previous students); and being “on-call” to serve as a house RA that can solve disputes, coordinate events, etc. I thought about the offer for about a week and then decided that with all of the extra unwritten things that would be expected of me, I preferred to continue to pay rent to live off campus (just a mile away so walking distance) and where I can feel more like my work day has ended rather than continues. Sometimes, it’s important to think of the small details as they can help to add up to a bigger solution that fits what you really need from your housing!

    • They would have lost me at “mowing the lawn”. My biggest sacrifice is my dog had to go live with my mom.

      • KarolynWojtowicz says:

        That was one of the things that lost me as well! These duties would have been on top of already being on call as International Student Advisor, doing study abroad duties and working on my master’s degree. I needed to be able to go home and leave work at work.

  2. Cindie says:

    My job isn’t the sort where you live on campus (living in the city, our “dorms” are just in apartment buildings anyway), but a friend of mine recently was looking for RD positions and she had a really hard time finding a place where her wife could live with her. Even though they are legally married in NY, a lot of schools weren’t okay with that and it really narrowed her search parameters. Luckily for her, she found a place with really nice apts for staff so it worked out!

    • I guess it really depends on what part of the country you’re in and the specific school. I know when I was searching most were very upfront and said something along the lines of “you can live with whoever”. One school did specify the person would need a background check (you know to make sure they weren’t an international war lord or something). However, the school I wound up at didn’t mention it so I asked and they don’t let you live with somebody.

  3. […] thought I’d touch on some of the benefits of a live on position. Yes, I know that I’ve previously complained about it, and I assure you that by this time last year I did NOT want anything to do with a residence life […]

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