The idea of off-campus housing at North Carolina State University sounds like a good one; no RAs or staff to bother you or supervise you at all hours, the ability for friends and visitors to come and go as they please, and easier access to off-campus entertainment all make for an ideal-sounding living arrangement. But along with this idyllic lifestyle goes a good deal of responsibility. Do you have what it takes to tackle these challenges? We've assembled a few tips that can be a helpful guide when looking for off-campus housing.
What's Your Budget?
If you live in "real-world" housing, it means you'll need a real-world budget; you need to think about every possible expense you could have to see if it's feasible for you to live this way. Be sure to calculate your budget ahead of time before you and your potential roommates sign a lease. Include your rent, food costs, books, and any entertainment expenses that you may possibly incur. It pays to be disciplined about living costs so you don't run out of money before the end of the semester; wise financial planning is a hallmark of adult living.
Who Will Your Roommates Be?
One of the primary appeals of living off-campus is the ability to live with anyone you choose. Many people imagine that they'll gather together a living space for their closest friends, and this will be an idyllic household and fun community. Unfortunately, the reality is that it's usually not a good idea to live with friends, as opposed to responsible people who will pay their rent on time and keep your household clean. Do you want to get into an argument with your friends about who didn't wash their dishes or who left their food on the counter overnight? It's usually a smarter idea to choose responsible roommates to live with over people you know well.
Besides your roommates, another appeal of living off campus can be proximity to amusements, attractions, hangouts, and entertainment that may not be available on campus. It's fine to have leisure time, but there's a fine line between taking a break and slacking off. Tuition is a huge expense that many people take years to pay back. Did you really enroll at North Carolina State so you could engage in diversionary distractions? Smart students will usually take advantage of their off-campus location to locate new places to study or get work done. Café de Los Muertos, with a large open seating area upstairs, is one such location near North Carolina State that appeals to many off-campus students.
The exact location of your off-campus housing relative to NCSU can determine how often you'll actually be there for classes or to access staff or faculty. The further away your home is from school, the less time you'll likely spend on campus, from a statistical point of view. You should select your location wisely, and consider transportation options to get to classes.
Using Campus Amenities
Besides classes, North Carolina State offers many amenities that even the locale of your new housing probably doesn't provide. Chances are good that you'll likely need to use the Hunt Library for research at one point or another. So be sure you still can get to this and other facilities because your tuition paid for them; it would be shortsighted not to be able to make use of them.