By Jared Prenda
Finally moving off campus is a rite of passage for most Catholic University students. There is no more signing in friends, kicking them out at midnight, risking being written up by RA’s and HSA’s. For many it is their first taste of adulthood, their first taste of true independence. Despite this, there are hazards to living off campus that many don’t consider. These are a few of the many hazards of living off campus.
If you rent a house, then your landlord is a lot like your RA; you call them when anything goes wrong or something is broken, but you don’t want them around too often. Some landlords have a habit of dropping by or calling the house at anytime on any day. They will look through your stuff, or take anything they deem inappropriate in their house simply because it is their house. Yes, they come by and mow the lawn, or help shovel the driveway, but never expect a text or warning that they will be dropping by.
Pick your roommates carefully— not everyone you are friends with will be the best people to live with. Sometimes your best friend can be the worst roommate, and the quirks you can dismiss by distance become an unavoidable part of your day. They may be messy, loud, or just rude and you cannot avoid it. This can destroy friendships and it is not like the dorms where you can simply request a room change. Both people are on that lease for the two years you sign for, and moving out is often too costly for both parties.
Of all the hazards to be wary of, one will cause you the most grief of all, your neighbors. More often than not they’re going to hate you. There is no avoiding it, they just will. They will call the cops on your pre-games and parties, complain to your landlord about noise, and be, quite simply, rude people. They will not care if you give them advance notice of parties, nor will they care if you’re a kind, polite person. They are often adults with jobs, kids, and responsibilities that students do not relate to, and do not have time for noisy neighbors. It is always prudent to try and begin your relationship on the right foot, but often it will prove to be a fruitless effort.
Fourth on the list is living with the residents of Brookland and their antics. The neighborhood kids will find all sorts of creative pranks to pull on you. The teenagers by my house have evolved the classic ding-dong-ditch to try-kicking-down-the-door-and-ditch. Most recently our house was broken into over Easter break and robbed while no one was home. Fortunately for us, the suspect was the dumbest criminal alive and looked directly into three different security cameras, but our possessions are now long gone. One mistake or unlocked door which is no big deal in Opus can cause you thousands of dollars in Brookland.
Despite all of this, living off campus is still one of the greatest opportunities students of Catholic University can have. You and your roommates will make unforgettable memories, and forge unbreakable bonds through your first true tastes of adulthood. Having a real address with no real authority figures for the first time is freeing, but that responsibility comes with its burdens. So remember these hazards before you and your friends sign that lease, or move into that apartment.