Living off campus allows for success after college

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Suffolk isn’t a typical four year boarding university, most students know that. Boston schools with limited housing, like Suffolk, set their students up for a more prepared future inside and outside the classroom by having the majority of students live off-campus after their first year.

A university that doesn’t guarantee students four years of housing can turn some potential applicants away, but the thought of having your own space can help convince others that Suffolk is the school for them. Not only does the prospect of having an apartment provide me a place to sleep, but also a permanent residence.

Coming from outside of New England, going home is not an easy thing to do, especially for the holidays. During winter break, for example, Suffolk required on-campus students to move out of the dorms by a certain time on a certain date. I had to pay nearly $400 round trip for a flight that worked with Suffolk’s schedule. But if I had left two days later, I could have paid $100 less.

Although convenient, the dorms are pricey, costing students more than $15,000 for just eight months of room and board for a student in a double room, according to Suffolk’s website. Singles in the dorms can be even more expensive. The cost of a full year’s rent in my future space in the North End, in addition to the cost of food, come out to be just less than Suffolk’s room and board for a full, eight-month school year.

Kea walks past the restaurant L’Osteria in the North End, the neighborhood where he will rent an apartment after spending his first year at Suffolk in the dorms. (Courtesy of Ian Kea)

Off-campus living can also have a more homey feeling and reduces time spent traveling. The winter break spreads out over five weeks and it can be a little too much time with parents after being away from them for so long. Being able to spend a week or two with family and then come back to your apartment makes a real difference. It gives you a safe haven, and another place to call your home.

Living off campus also prepares you for the future of living on your own, away from your parents. From having to go grocery shopping, cook, pay rent and utilities bills on time, as well as doing all the little necessities in between such as replacing a light bulb, living on their own teaches students learn to become independent.

An apartment setting also gives you more flexibility with what you can and can’t do with space compared to the dorms. In my apartment, I am able to just bring friends up to my space, and guests can stay more than a couple days without a problem.

I decided to get an apartment to establish residency in Massachusetts. I want to go to law school eventually, and after I receive my bachelor’s degree, I am on my own financially. I want to make life as inexpensive as possible, so by becoming a Massachusetts resident I can save money if I wanted to attend UMass Dartmouth for law school down the road, and stay in the state.

Off-campus living gives you a glimpse of what life will be like once you land your first job and able to live away from the limitations of your childhood home. Along with receiving an education, living off campus during college gives you an education all of its own.