By Tom Cole
Living in campus halls is a fundamental part of student life. While those first days in student halls can often herald some of our happiest memories, there comes a time to move out and find your own place to live so a new flock of first-years can nestle into your dorm. Sitting that final exam then handing your keys back to the receptionist the same afternoon doesn't have to be a miserable memory at all. In many ways youíre probably sick of the constant pizza delivery, sharing one microwave between twelve, and having to cope with that one guy who stays awake until 4am then complains about oversleeping when he wakes up at noon.
It goes without saying that life in student dorms has its shortcomings, which is why things donít have to be all doom-and-gloom when you eventually do leave.
1. Living with friends
While part of the experience of living in halls is to cunningly ensnare neighbours into your sinister web of friendship, you may also find them making plans for next year without you. Unless you make a particularly strong connection, neighbours from halls tend not to last. The nature of your acquaintance is built off of being randomly allocated rooms near to each other. Hardly the basis for a lasting bond. When you leave halls you have the opportunity to actually pick your flatmates and befriend them on a more personal level. Itís a chance to filter out the people you never really got on with and form your own group of dedicated partners in crime. To forge friendships over something more than sharing a toaster.
2. Peace and Quiet
It stands as no stretch of the imagination to say campus life has its louder moments. Most of the time you may be in on the action, walking back to your halls late at night in high spirits with your friends. Nothing wrong with that until it is 4am on a Monday night and a bunch of intoxicated strangers are singing outside your window. The early-morning weekday stranglers are the bane of every university studentís sleeping pattern. And then thereís the fire alarm that goes off every single time someone in a different block tries to use their microwave to heat up a midnight snack, causing an evacuation of the whole building. While thereís no guarantee that off-campus accommodation will ensure you a full nightís rest, your sleep at least wonít be disturbed by rowdy drunkenness or fire drills in December.
The advent of apartment life also entitles you to more privacy than you would otherwise get. There are no dorm inspections, nor are there parties upstairs when youíre trying to study. The walls tend to be thicker and the whole building will be independent from the campus. No more wooden conversations with neighbours you donít know that well in awkward hallways.
Of course, in finding your own privately-owned property, you also get the chance to break free from the uniformity of campus-provided flats. Your room doesn't need to be restricted to the rudimentary essentials that are provided. Its contents wonít be mass-produced amongst hundreds of other identical rooms. It can be customized far more easily when your independent of the university. You can buy a new desk, replace the curtains, even pin up some posters if youíre on especially good terms with the landlord. This is a space that is meant to be lived in. You may as well get comfortable.
5. Growing independence
Thereís also the advent of properly taking life into your own hands in private accommodation. Long-gone is the need to share one shower between a dozen or live with campus WiFi restrictions. While freedom may come at the cost of sorting out your own bills and utilities, itís the first step towards self-sufficiency. From this point onwards youíll have proper facilities to cook for yourself and watch live TV. Just donít forget to stick a baking tray under that first pizza you leave on the top shelf of the oven.
6. Cheaper Cost
Generally, living independently from campus halls also makes for a slightly reduced rent. Most flats have a fixed monthly rate, which will be split between you and your housemates, making for a cheaper overall cost than most catered university halls. Additional payments will undoubtedly include utilities, internet and electricity, all of which is great preparation for future. While the cost may still be remarkable, you will at least be paying for what you use and racking up vital life experience points.
7. Living Area
No apartment is complete without a sitting room of some kind. A communal space to sit people down and have real social interaction. Student halls tend not to include this feature, maybe providing a TV Room to share with the whole building and instead offering a few utilitarian chairs around a breakfast table in each kitchen. Privately-owned property will often have a room dedicated to this purpose, somewhere you can invite friends or family over and actually seat them. Nothing tells your parents ďIím doing fine for myself" like plonking them down on a sofa. Just make sure to brush the cornflakes off the cushions first.
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