Ah, it’s almost back-to-school time. August is quickly coming to a close and I can practically smell summer ending. Although it’s hard to part with backyard BBQ’s and cut-off shorts, the end of summer also ushers in something I enjoy equally as much: The return to campus.
But not everybody is headin’ back to a cramped, 8×10 box that college officials have dubbed “ the dorm.” Nope—some of you ladies (myself included) will find yourselves hunched over textbooks in more reasonably-sized quarters. Yes, I’m talking about off-campus houses and apartments! Although living off-campus for the first time is exciting, there are a couple things you definitely need to know when preparing to live on your own for the first time.
1. Grocery shopping sucks. At first it sounds freakin’ sweet to be able to grab a cart and throw whatever goodies your little heart desires into it. It’s so much fun to ogle all those fresh fruits and veggies and delicious frozen pizzas. The first time. But going grocery shopping when you’re hungover/starving/lacking caffeine is not fun. It’s a tedious, exhausting and costly activity. Find someone else to do it for you. For real.
2. Signing a lease is like signing over your life. It is HARD WORK to break a lease. Once you sign your name on that dotted line, you’re at the mercy of your (slum)landlord. Although there are ways to get around it (like by having a good lawyer, or a REALLY sh*tty landlord), most of the time you’re locked in until your move-out date, sister, regardless of your personal issues.
3. A good dorm roommate does not equal a good house roommate. Think just because you lived together in a room smaller than your dad’s cubicle you can “totally make it work” in an apartment? Think again. Dorms don’t require you to fix the toilet, or deal with black mold, or scrub dirty dishes, or sign over a monthly cable check. People you would have trusted with your life in your dorm days just might turn out to be totally unreliable when it comes to serious stuff like paying bills on time.
4. The more is not always the merrier. Multiple females in one house is like living inside a ticking time bomb. Someone is ALWAYS PMS-ing, screwing their boyfriend too loud or “forgetting” that you have to wake up at 7 a.m. when they barge into your room at 3 a.m. after dollar beer Tuesdays.
5. Walls are not sound-proof. You will most likely hear things you don’t want to, whether from inside your own house or because your paper-thin walls allow you to hear every little movement your neighbor makes. Just keep that in mind when that guy texts you at 2 a.m. for a booty call…
6. Cleaning is hard work. If you don’t clean regularly, stuff gets dirty. Fast. Remember all those wild house parties you crashed while you lived in the dorm? Yeah, somebody had to clean that house up the morning after. Now, that somebody is you.
7. Just because someone’s your neighbor, doesn’t mean they have to lend you their sugar. Or toilet paper. Or be cool with a beer pong table in your shared hallway.
8. Less is more. Less furniture, less floor space, less clutter, less dishes. Whatever you can afford to downsize before you move into your apartment, DO IT. And remember—anything you move into your new pad, you also have to move out at the end of the year.
9. Everything costs money. Toilet paper, paper towels, a plunger…these are all necessities. And they all require you to hand over your hard-earned cash.
10. In that same vein, USE COUPONS.
11. But above all, have fun. Most likely your college apartment is not gonna be filled with designer items & gourmet foods. It’s gonna be filled with empty pizza boxes from late-night binges, worn old textbooks and (hopefully) hot boys. So enjoy it, sister (…especially the hot boys. Word is they go fast after college.)