The following entry was written by Anna Lindgren, Class of 2014.
If you’re a transfer student or an upperclassman, odds are you’re gearing up to live off campus in the fall. Although some Emerson students stay in the dorms after the housing requirement has been fulfilled, others (like me!) have only lived in them for three semesters. In any case, from my wisdom gathered during the first full year I’ve lived off-campus I’ve compiled a few tips to make the most of your new home base.
Take advantage of your new neighborhood.
Now that you are not living, eating, and going to class in the same two block radius, take the time to get out and explore your new digs. You will not regret this. Get familiar with the mom-and-pop businesses around your new place. Also, walk to campus when you have the time. It’s so easy to take the T every day and not know how things are connected. But when you take the time to walk, you can start to get to know the layout of the city. Also, if you decide to go for the semester T pass through the MBTA, take advantage of it! Now that you’re off-campus, you will be using public transportation a lot more. If you’re paying for it anyways, you might as well take day trips to different parts of the city that you want to get to know better.
Grocery shop more, eat out less.
A lot of off-campus student choose to forgo the meal plan simply because they are not eating many of their meals in Emerson facilities anymore. Speaking from experience, it is easy to fall into the trap of getting take out for a lot of meals. However, this can wreak havoc on your budget. If you pack yourself a lunch instead of buying one every day, you will definitely have more money in your wallet and probably be eating healthier, too.
Clean your apartment.
This sounds silly and obvious, but it is so important. You will find your apartment a much more pleasant place if you take the time to keep it clean and organized. I am typically a messy person, but I’ve found that when there are no dirty clothes on my floor, I’m much happier. Set aside one day a week to do a little cleaning, and I promise you and your roommates will be enjoy the space that much more. Speaking of which…
Respect your roommates.
Don’t eat their food. Don’t leave your dirty dishes in the sink for days. Don’t make lots of noise if you know they are sleeping. Above all, if you are having roommate issues, as most everyone does, be honest with them. Whether you are on or off campus, it is a good idea to have regular roommate meetings to clear the air of any ongoing problems and come up with solutions.
Getting all the stuff you need to live in an apartment can be a big project after living in a fully-furnished dorm room. Think creatively about acquiring furniture: craigslist is a great resource in a city like Boston where tons of students are always coming and going. What about your parents or a roommate’s parents — do they have any cast-off furniture they could spare, and are they local enough to Boston that they could do a drop-off? Or, check a local Goodwill for décor and even essentials like plates and mugs. Just be sure to give them a good scrub-down when you make them your own!