To live on campus or to live off campus? That’s the real question. Chances are if you’re a student at Goucher, you’ve probably noticed that living off-campus doesn’t seem to be all that common. Most Goucher students spend all four of their undergrad years moving from one dorm to another. And, if you’re like me, when you make the decision to live off-campus, Goucher doesn’t exactly offer many resources. Add in the process of submitting the off-campus application and the daunting question of “what next?” and it can be a pretty intimidating experience.
However, I took the plunge. And I’m so glad I did. Living off-campus has been one of the best decisions of my undergrad years. I have my own kitchen where I can cook whenever I want (and not have to worry about a meal plan!). I have my own room, my own space—I actually feel like I have a home. And, most importantly, I can spend as much or as little time as I want on campus, which is a really freeing feeling. While the process for me to live off-campus was a pretty simple one, I talked with other Goucher students to see what their experiences have been like. As a commuter, Cecile Adrian, ’20, said of her experience, “It’s good. I think it’s better for my mental health and emotional being. It’s just nice to have a place and not have to be here all the time.” Further, August Shah, ’20, said, “The quality of life is exponentially different living off campus than on campus. My overall experience with being off campus is amazing for the most part.”
Although living off-campus can seem like a great option, sometimes it can be difficult. While living on Goucher’s campus means you’re only a walk away from your friends and resources such as the Ath, Alice’s, and any on-campus events, sometimes I feel a bit distant. I don’t always know about stuff happening on campus or last-minute events, but for me that isn’t really a big deal. Ari Schlossberg, ‘19, shared his opinion on this saying, “On the other hand, all of my friends are here [and] sometimes I miss out on stuff.” This is something other students relate to as well. Melina Albornoz, ’20, said, “The hardest part about commuting is that sometimes I feel ‘out of the loop’ when it comes to on campus events,” although she adds, “but that’s not a major issue for me. Overall, I really enjoy commuting; it gives me the option of being on campus or at home.” Similarly, August Shah, ’20, said, “The only downside [of living off-campus] is that I am not integrated much into the community with peers because of being off campus,” and adds, “but to me, that’s a very small downside.” For some students, they still feel just as connected to Goucher living off-campus as when they lived in the dorms. Cecile Adrian, ’20, said, “I don’t feel like I’m missing out or like I’m less a part of this community. I maintain all of my friendships, relationships, and involvement.”
When asked what the hardest part of living off-campus is, most other students I spoke with agreed on the commute. Ari Schlossberg, ‘19, said, “Definitely the commute. That’s the worst part.” He adds, “But it’s a valuable trade off. Definitely worth it!” When talking about the difficulties of commuting, Zoe Shimberg, ’22, warns, “If you do want to commute, be prepared, be very prepared.” It can definitely be frustrating at times, especially finding parking mid-day! I think that’s one of the most difficult things I’ve had to deal with.
After reading this, you might be wondering about the application process. I know when I was thinking of applying, I heard so many horrible stories I was nervous I would encounter a similar fate. However, I was lucky to have my application approved without any major difficulties. Ari Schlossberg, ‘19, had a similar experience and said, “At the time, Res Life was really helpful…With Goucher, moving out was easy.” Some students had a more difficult time, such as August Shah, ’20, who said, “Applying to live off campus was atrocious and so unnecessarily difficult.” I honestly think it depends on your situation, and while some people have had a more difficult time with their process, I don’t think it should deter you from trying it for yourself.
Thinking of living off-campus? For me, taking that next step into “adulting” has been a very valuable experience. While there will always be positives and negatives, pros and cons, if you think popping that Goucher Bubble is the best move for you, then I say go for it! I’m sure glad I did. And, after talking with other Goucher students, I can tell you they are too. Living on campus is a great option, but if you’re ready to take the next step, I think living off-campus should be something more Goucher students consider.