5 Lessons Your Student Learns Living Off-Campus
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By: Madison White, Uloop
If your student is planning to move off campus soon, you’ll get to see them go through a series of changes to their current lifestyle. Whether they’re moving from an on-campus dorm or from your own basement, your student will soon find out what it really means to transition to adulthood.
You’re going to witness their learning of some life lessons and some of them may be learned the hard way. Here are five lessons your student learns when moving off campus.
1. How to manage transportation time
If your student lived on campus before moving off campus, they probably had the luxury of only needing five to 10 minutes to get to class. This means that it takes barely any planning at all to get to class on time.
However, moving off campus means that it’ll take some pre-planning to make sure their punctuality doesn’t falter. It now means that they have to plan ahead for traffic and construction — which universities are notorious for doing. They may also spend 10 minutes every day just circling parking lots to find a spot.
If they won’t have a car, they may even have to learn a public transportation system which can prove equally daunting. With time, they’ll figure out just how to work through getting to school effectively.
2. How to plan and cook for themselves
It’s possible that your student was already a great cook before moving off campus. It’s also possible that without the constant supply of cafeteria food always available, they’ll quickly realize that all they know how to make is ramen.
Cooking for themselves not only involves learning how to cook but also how to budget for food and grocery shop while planning ahead. At first, it may be hard for them to fit cooking into a busy student schedule. Once they do, they’ll have developed a skill for life.
3. Getting (and staying involved) takes effort
If your student lived at home, they may already know about this one. If they lived on campus, however, they had the luxury of being surrounded by other students. This means it was probably very easy to make and keep friends as well as stay involved in the happenings around campus.
With living off campus though, it becomes very easy to just drive in to attend class and then leave. Remaining an active student on campus becomes increasingly more difficult. Encourage your student to stay involved and reap the benefits of being a college student, even if they aren’t living there.
4. How to manage bills
Bills aren’t fun for anyone. They’re especially worrisome for newly moved college students. While on campus, their rent, utilities, internet, and possibly food were already paid for each month. Off campus, none of it is. Your student will have to learn to schedule and plan for the paying of bills, as well as navigate setting up several accounts for different services. Because some of these bills can fluctuate each month, they’ll also have to learn how to plan and budget for this.
5. What freedom really feels like
For some moving off campus from their parents’ home, the experience will be a massive change. Living off campus comes with many perks. They can decorate their own space. They can come and go as they please. They can have whoever they like over at whatever hour (assuming that their roommates don’t mind).
However, it also means that they’re entirely responsible for the upkeep. They have to take out the trash on their own accord. They have to remember to pay the bills. They have to shop for groceries. They have to make a budget. There’s always a sense of give and take when it comes to moving out, but almost always, the freedom is worth it.
When your student moves off campus, it’s important to remember that you may feel like a smaller part of their lives. Of course, this isn’t true. In fact, you may even be surprised at how many times they call you needing urgent advice on how to do things like cook chicken or fix a power outage. Remember that you can’t learn these lessons for them, but that you can always be the constant source of love and support they need during this important time.
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