Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Off-campus living: Ready or not?

Published: September 15, 2006
Section: Opinions

Over the past few weeks, there have been more than a few instances in Usdan when a friend of mine will turn to me say say, Do you know anyone in here?

True, campus can start to feel a little lonely as a senior. It seems like 95% of 07-ers are living elsewhere this year. Wellington, Shakespeare, Dartmouth… did anyone even know there was a place called the Gucci House? Apparently there is. I am confident the percentage is somewhat lower than 95, but when cafeterias and Rabb steps become inundated with unrecognizable faces, it can definitely feel like it.

You could blame the dwindling number of campus-dwelling upperclassmen on the evils of the housing lottery. Many seniors probably figure that, if it cant be a Mod, might as well look somewhere else. And while the Mods are obviously the senior housing of choice, it seems that many students are eager to get even further away from the confinements of the Brandeis campus.

There are indeed many perks to not living in the Brandeis dorms. First of all, it is cheaper in most cases. Youll get much more bang for your bucka bigger bedroom along with all the other amenities of a house, like a kitchen, for less than your little single in East.

Most students are also enthused by the concept of not being on a meal plan. Three years of Asian chicken wraps and those infamous scrambled egg and eggplant parm brunches at Sherman can become tiresome. You have the luxury of being able to eat what you want, when you want (gone are the confinements of the nearly nonexistent weekend dining hours), and your food will probably consist of substantially less pepper.

In addition to the more obvious reasons such as cost and food, many people find off-campus living to be liberating. At a time when seniors can start to feel antsy in their final year of college, leaving campus is taking an added step into the adult world. There seems to be nothing more adult than grocery shopping for the best deal on chicken or calling Comcast to set up a DSL line. And that great, pepper-free meal youll be eating? Youve got to cook it yourself. This is where the off-campus deal has its drawbacks.

By drawbacks I am mainly referring to the not-so-exciting realities of independent living. I know myself, and I know that Id get home every night, bypass the stove and head straight for the Frosted Mini Wheats. Either that or go home for dinner, therefore defeating the purpose of independence entirely. I appreciate being able to get my meals with the swipe of a card, and my relationship with the guy at the Balance station is too strong for me to let go of it so prematurely.

Washing the dishes would be okay and I can handle laundry just fine, but there is something about the proximity to class and not having to clean my own bathroom that makes on-campus living worth it. Yeah, I know Ill have to do it someday soon, but that day is not here yet and I intend to milk this lazy college student gig for all it is worth while I can. Ill be living on my own soon enough, cooking my own thrifty meals and cleaning the scum out of my own shower. Why start now?

I like the feeling of being connected to campus, and hopefully some of those nameless faces on Rabb will become more familiar to me as the year goes on. Other people may want to bust into the real world a little earlier, but for right now, this works for me just fine. And if it means another two semesters of Asian chicken wraps and too much pepper, so be it.