Two years ago, I made the decision to live off-campus with a group of friends. I have always wanted to live off campus ever since my freshmen year when I came to visit some senior friends in the house I currently live in, known as the Blue House to many. I saw how independent the girls who previously lived here looked and I knew I wanted that too. Not to mention living off campus can help save money in some circumstances.
As I am approaching the end of my time here at Washington College, I find that one of the things I will miss the most is my off campus house. I have lived here for so long and even stayed here this past summer, that I am not sure how I will feel when I go. I am constantly around my best friends in the house and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. One of my absolute favorite things it sitting in the kitchen with my housemates while we all make dinner. I also love my little room and will miss sitting on my bed with the windows open doing work (well maybe I won’t miss the work as much). Most of the time in my house is great and full of joy, but other times I have to deal with tedious housecare responsibilities. Here are a few things living off campus has taught me.
Taking out the trash has become a ritual. It goes out every Sunday and Wednesday like clockwork, and if it doesn’t, well then it gets very heavy to carry to the end of the driveway the next time around.
You have to spend time really cleaning. Doing the dishes each morning and night, cleaning your bathroom, and sweeping the kitchen floors are a weekly chore. And you can always tell when you and your roommates are having a busy week because the dishes pile up fast.
Dealing with your landlord can be a pain. When you have a nice and responsible landlord everthing is great and they will treat you like an adult. But when they are unprofessional and treat you like a child things can get annoying. It is important to be familiar with you lease and to know your rights as a tenant. And always try to be respectful towards them, even if they don’t return the gesture.
Sometimes your housemates won’t do a fair share of the work. You have to understand that sometimes people are busy and forget to do things so you should not get upset. But when you are the only one who always consistently takes the trash out it can get annoying. It is important to learn how to not take it personally, and realize that it is just making your own skills better.
If something breaks you have to learn how to fix it unless you want to deal with your landlord (which I never want to). I consider myself pretty handy so this is not too difficult for me. Last year our garbage disposal broke, so I looked up how to fix it on the internet and did it myself!
When you realize that you are living in a house on your own without your parents it is pretty cool because one day you will be living on your own in the real world. All the skills that I have learned over the years will make living on my own so much easier. I know how to pay bills, call a plumber, and clean like a real person all because my favorite house in the world has taught me to do so. It may not be the easiest thing, but I would not give up all the drama and stress of living off campus for not being able to live in this wonderful house with my best friends.
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Photo by Erin Gutkind