I’m Finally Free!… Kinda

Tayla M. Fauntleroy is a 2014 Cum Laude graduate of Spelman College, having received her degree in Political Science (pre-law) with a Minor in English. With goals of starting her own law practice specializing in Juvenile Defense and Human Rights, Tayla is currently preparing to enter law school in the fall of 2015, while implementing a proposal for her non-profit organization and comprising her first novel during her gap year. Tayla is very adamant on public outreach initiatives geared towards empowering underprivileged youths, while seeking to increase awareness and opportunities throughout the formers’ communities.

Going away to college is just… everything! The moment you’ve been waiting for. You can finally break free from parental restraints, prove naysayers wrong, and not be constantly nagged about how many times you hit the snooze button (granted, it’s your decision to miss class, but I definitely wouldn’t make it a habit– after all, it is your money you’re wasting). The prospective freedom you’ll have once your parents drop you off on move in day is way past overdue, and you’re ready to embark on a new journey as a scholar… a professional… an adult! And then you receive notice that there’s a new campus curfew…

So maybe you’re not an athlete at a school whose coach enforces a curfew, or you don’t attend a private institution that has visitation rules (like my Alma Mater does); but when it comes to college life, there is usually list of regulations, constructs or just pet peeves that keep rearing their ugly faces in the way of your freedom, and it all seems to stem from one source– living on campus. Think about it. How much better would college life be if you didn’t have to wait for your favorite shower to be open on your hall, sneak in your boyfriend or girlfriend because visitation hasn’t started (or just because you don’t need everyone in the loop of your love life), or wait for your roommate to finish their term paper before the lights could go out? Okay, so maybe you’d have to wash your own dishes from time to time, but moving off campus into your own space sounds like the best move to make at this point.

For some people this may mean working on top of academics. For others, it could mean taking money that you would’ve otherwise given to your school for room and board– whether through loans or money bags relatives– to an apartment complex willing to give you a spot. I know that personally for me, it meant a combination of the two, but with a refined hold on my sanity… at least for a while. I could have company over until I got tired of them without getting permission from my psycho roommate. I could wear as much or as little clothing as I wanted, when I wanted (semi-nudist over here). And best of all, I wasn’t accumulating nearly as much debt as I would have, had I been paying for my private institution’s room, board and meals. It all seemed perfect… until it wasn’t so perfect.

I won’t go into detail listing the plethora of things that started to go wrong with commuting, and gas money and food and the weather, because as life has it, unpredictable circumstances are, well, unpredictable. What I do suggest to those overly eager to move off campus is that you be realistic with yourself in all aspects of your decision. While finances are the main thing to consider when planning a move, don’t forget the main reason you’re in college¬– to excel academically, network and become a better individual. If you’re realistically a night owl, procrastinator, one to forget something in your room, or you just CANNOT do early mornings, don’t apartment hunt 20+ miles off campus. Regardless of your class schedule, a day in the life of a college student hardly ever goes as planned, and moving off campus adds even greater possibility of uncertainty. As someone who ditched campus after her first year of undergrad, I’d simply caution that it’s not for the weak of heart.

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