Ask a fifth-year: Rocking the Bachelor(ette) Pad

Dear Sarah,

It has always bugged me that Lawrence students aren’t allowed to live off-campus. It gets so stifling living on-campus, eating on-campus, going to class on-campus and only ever seeing people on-campus. I bet it’s great having your own place that’s out of the Lawrence bubble. How has your experience living off-campus been this year?

—Party Animal Whose Neighbors Need to Stop Calling in Noise Complaints


Dear Party Animal,

I love living off-campus and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is able to (or honestly for Lawrence to change its policy and allow seniors as well as super seniors to live off campus). However, it’s a lifestyle that is more different from living on-campus than you might think. There are a lot of great things about living off-campus, but there are a lot of drawbacks too.

The best part is hands down the space and the privacy. For the first time ever, I have my own bedroom, living room, kitchen wall and bathroom. No more shower caddies, no more mini fridges and no more coffee pots plugged in underneath a lofted bed. I have my own stove and oven and various pots and pans, so I can cook whatever I want, whenever I want. NEVER AGAIN WILL I BE WOKEN UP AT 3 a.m. BECAUSE SOMEONE BURNED POPCORN. I generally don’t have to worry about noisy neighbors, although sometimes the folks downstairs get very into their Call of Duty game. And I have never once had to wait to do laundry.

Whatever happens on-campus during the day, I know I have a separate place to come home to. Having my own space is really important to me, and it’s nice to share it only with the specific people I want to share it with.Living off-campus I feel a lot less pressure to get out and do things every weekend. I’m more than happy to just watch Netflix all Friday night, and it’s a lot easier to be happy just watching Netflix on a Friday night when there isn’t a raging game of beer pong going on next door.

That being said, there are plenty of frustrations about living off-campus. While I’m now almost a master at parallel parking, I’ve also been late to class before because I had to park several blocks away from campus. And given the stress of ninth week, sometimes I don’t have the time to cook dinner and really wish food would just appear before me.

On a more serious note, there are some community aspects of Lawrence that I’ve grown to miss while living off-campus. Given that Lawrence is such a close-knit, residential community, most people make plans with the people they see. They go get lunch with their classmates right after class. They go to happy hour in the VR with whoever they happen to be around come 4:30 p.m. I spend very little time just hanging out around campus so I don’t just run into people very often anymore. I only see the people I want to see, but I have to put more effort into seeing them.

It’s great having my own excessively large space, but there are some quintessential things about Lawrence that make it what it is that I don’t participate in any more. It’s a great experience, but it isn’t for everyone.