Column: The off-campus fallacy
Second semester is here, and in many ways it’s a bit disappointing the world didn’t end last month. Especially for all of you sophomores who have a firmly set group of friends from freshman year and are wandering into Off Campus Student Services and making calls to real estate agents. Apartment hunting season is on.
It can be very exciting, the prospect of moving off campus. Finally freeing yourself of the minutes wasted behind that kid in your hall signing in his entire family. Getting away from the cramped quarters of dorm living for the spacious-by-comparison multi-room apartment of your dreams. You can host parties without fear of an RA, and you don’t have to share showers with a floor full of strangers who may or may not expel any number of bacterial or excremental substances from their body as they spend the entire time you allotted yourself to get ready hogging the hot water.
And don’t get me wrong, those problems go away mostly. You realize the two years you spent in those cramped quarters made you feel like you had a lot of stuff. Then you try to set up the living room and realize you’re missing some important pieces. A TV stand here, a lamp there. A semester into apartment living, you realize you spend all your money on those RA-free parties you were so excited to have, and the only apartment decor you’ve acquired is the empty liquor bottles you foolishly thought would look fancy on your mantle.
The things you miss about dorm life, of course, are the things you forgot to think about. Sure, you’re not sharing your off-campus shower with a floor full of strangers. But the only thing worse than toeing your random floormates’ stack of pubes out of the drain is pushing your best buddy’s glory fuzz up the wall of the shower while stifling a gag.
Then there are the parties. Worry-free beer pong (or Beirut, if you’re one of those), flip cup and all the noise your neighbors will allow without fear of having your parents called or a meeting with OSCCR. What’s even better is sometimes you don’t have to do all the planning and preparation. Your roommates do it for you – and sometimes it serves as a ‘surprise’ party. Not the kind where everybody jumps out from behind the sofa, but more the “Sorry dude, I totally forgot you had that bio exam tomorrow” kind.
But the part you most have to look forward to is the food. The dining halls aren’t bad, but after four semesters straight of rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes, omelets and stir fry, you’re ready for a change. Instead, opt for six semesters of ramen, pasta, Pop-Tarts and regret. The regret comes at weird hours. Like 1 p.m. Saturday when all you want is that hangover omelet and you already spent all your co-op money. Or 11 p.m. Sunday when you realize you’re about to head into the week with no breakfast foods. Shaw’s is open 24/7, and they sell the old granny carts you thought you’d never be caught dead with. Time to reconsider.
Tips: Drop an uncooked scrambled egg into that boiling ramen water for some added protein. Gladware. Cookies & Cream Pop-Tarts are better frozen (so says my buddy Jon Palmer; I go for Frosted Shredded Wheat). Buy things with cash, save the quarters. Share bathroom cleaning duty.
Or just live on campus again.
-Taylor Dobbs can be reached at comments@HuntNewsNU.com.