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Student Blog: The Case for Commuting

All the pros you need to know about moving off-campus.

Student Blog: The Case for Commuting

This past year was my first year living off-campus, and, pandemic aside, it was by far my favorite year of college.

Hi, I'm Erika Spondike and I just completed my junior year as a Musical Theatre major at The Hartt School. At Hartt, you are expected (cough cough, required, cough) to live in on-campus housing for your first two years of school. I loved getting a taste of that "real" college experience on top of a BFA! Getting to take the shuttle with your roommates to dance class and come home to spend the night with your besties was always a joy. But getting off campus is a rite of passage. I wanted responsibility, and I wanted independence.

Here are my top 5 reasons living off-campus as a theatre major is simply the best.

1. It's Cheaper

When you lump into an off-campus apartment with a bunch of your pals, rent is really reasonable. Of course it depends on where your college is located and rent varies from apartment to apartment. But typically compared to two semesters' worth of room and board at a university, you're gonna save some money in the long run.

2. Alone Time

On-campus, being within walking distance of all of my friends 24/7 was fantastic for my social life but taxing on my social battery. At the end of the day, I get to drive home from work or class or rehearsal and take a break from it all. I love my classmates. So much. But there's always so much information buzzing around a collegiate theatre program. Getting away from it all by recharging in the safety of your own space has done wonders for my mental health. (Plus no more communal bathrooms!)

3. Responsibility

Nothing makes you feel like an adult like paying a gas bill. Living off-campus means that you are completely independent and responsible for yourself outside of class. Coming from the incredibly privileged middle-class suburban lifestyle I come from, my parents were the ones who paid the bills and got groceries. Living with roommates or on your own is a wake-up call into adulthood. This past year I've felt like an adult. I feel like I'm coming into my own now.

4. No more crazy move-in weekends

Signing a lease means you can move in when you want to move in. I'll never forget the chaos of moving into my dorm room freshman year. Cars swarmed around the complexes, hauling suitcases up three flights of stairs, and then 8 months later you have to tear everything down. If you move into an apartment as an underclassman, you don't have to move out until a diploma is in your hand.

5. It's fun!

Logistic arguments aside, living with your self-made college family cultivates so many special memories. This past year was filled with countless cuddle puddles with the dogs we watched, a cactus pinata with bangs named Susan, a wall of Polaroid pictures, game nights, late-night chats, and family meals. Being in an apartment pod with two of your best friends was the best decision I ever made. You're young and life's possibilities are limitless! Live with your besties.

I sit here writing this in my now empty room. My three roommates have graduated. I have a year left before I'm off to meet them in New York. I have grown so much during this crazy Covid school year, and now I'm all packed up to move into my new apartment for my last year of college. I'm thrilled for another year of driving to cafes, picnics in the park, and having my own kitchen.

One lease ends, another begins.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Erika Spondike