Off Campus Life: Ye Be Warned

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When you first move to college, you’ve got your own set of keys. You’re living by your own rules, and if that means a Netflix marathon until 2 a.m., then so be it. You take the first day to move into your dorm, meet all your floormates and bond with your roommate. Freshmen activities organized by your RAs help you to have fun and meet people. And then a year or two later, you’re hit with it: You’re moving off-campus. Here’s six frustrating situations I encountered while living off campus–but hey, at least I got my own bathroom.

1. Roommates From Hell

Roommates can be your best friends when you come home and rant about a terrible day and they turn on Netflix, dig into the emergency supply of ice cream and listen with the appropriate mix of shock and anger at your story. On the other hand, roommates can also be the type of people who listen to music at 3 a.m. the night before your exam, host unexpected parties or use way too much hot water and ramp up the bills.

When living off campus for the first time, I opted for three random roommates and getting along was definitely not our forte. One girl decided to let her boyfriend move in without consulting the rest of us, another left passive aggressive notes all over the place and I’m still convinced that one of them stole my favorite coffee mug.

2. The Dish Fiasco

Dishes start wars. If you have a lazy-butt roommate who never does the dishes (and I know because I may or may not fall under this category), you need to work out some sort of schedule. There’s no way in hell you’re doing the dishes three times in a row.

When living with one other roommate, I thought that the dishes situation would be pretty simple. I didn’t account for exams, late nights out or putting off the chore until the morning, at which point something goes wrong and I rush out of the apartment because I missed the bus. Then your roommate comes home and assumes the worst–that you’re a lazy butt and can’t bother to lift a finger.

3. Laundry Wars

Hopefully you’re not doing your roommate’s laundry, but it’s easy to start a passive aggressive post-it note war over you or your roommate leaving laundry in the dryer (or worse–the washer) for three days. If you try to put everything in the dryer and it’s still full of your roommate’s clothes from a week ago, don’t hesitate to throw it all in their room on the table or in a hamper; you’re past caring at this point.

I recall a time when my laundry pile grew to dizzying heights. Every time I’d try to wash anything, one my roommates had their own clothes going, forcing me to coordinate days in advance before finally getting the sweet satisfaction of wearing a nice warm shirt fresh out of the dryer.

4. What’s Mine is Yours (Except for Food)

If you’re territorial with food, living in an apartment with roommates is dangerous. You better get a safe that fits in your fridge because roommates have a tendency to borrow (*cough* steal *cough*) little things like condiments or the ingredient missing that you just happen to have lying around. That’s when the permanent markers break out and half the things in the kitchen have your initials on them.

Back off roomies, the cookies are mine. I remember avoiding a bottle of ketchup for months, assuming it belonged to my roommate. After months of staring at an unopened ketchup bottle, I confronted her about it and found out she thought it was mine. We never figured out whose the ketchup belonged to, but we learned that communication is key for a healthy roomie relationship.

5. Bills–A Not So Happy Reminder of Adulthood

In a dorm, you pay a lump sum to cover the semester. In an off-campus apartment, you deal with rent, Internet and water bills. Most times, the bills charge the same amount every month unless you go over a specified amount of heated water or electricity. That’s where the trouble begins, because if your apartment exceeds the cap, you know someone will start pointing fingers.

Then you need to sit down and talk to your roomies and tell them how it is absolutely their fault. Don’t actually take that approach, but it does warrant a discussion. When there’s an extra $50 on your bill, you’re going to fight to assign blame elsewhere. Do you know how much food you can buy with that?

6. Maintenance Madness

Things break. Especially appliances that lasted through multiple tenants who may or may not have known how to properly operate said appliances. That’s when 24-hour maintenance is heaven sent. If lucky, your maintenance crew is on top of everything, no problem.

Sometimes, you’re not so lucky like moi, who dealt with a leaky dishwasher and waited several months for maintenance to finally tilt the door back to fix the problem rather than replace it. You’ll soon memorize the maintenance request form, the office’s phone number, first names of the entire office and maintenance crew and still have to wait a week before they fix your microwave. But hey, it’ll get done eventually, right? Wait. They will, right?

Marcie is a sophomore English major at the University of Florida. She loves traveling, writing, and dancing, as well as her orange cat, Milo.

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