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Moving off campus may not be as attractive as it seems

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I know it’s a little early to be thinking about this, but if you are considering moving out of those smelly, cramped, noisy, and expensive dorms, this piece is meant for you. Anything, you might be thinking, anything will be better than a minuscule room in which you can’t even fit all your belongings. Anything would be better than having to use earplugs at night to block out the noise coming from that Guitar Hero party next door. Anything would be better than having to carry all those pots and pans into a kitchen at the other end of the dorm only to find that someone else is already cooking.

This was exactly my argument when I gave up my room in Morewood Gardens for a beautiful little studio apartment. I fell in love with the place when I saw it. It had its own little balcony, and best of all, it was cheaper than a prime double in Morewood. To top it all, it was a short 15-minute walk to campus; the Escort shuttle stopped right in front of the apartment; and the landlord was a nice old man who even offered to lend me his mother’s old crockery. Perfect ending, you say? Well, I’ve been living here for a semester now and have a different story to tell.

No, I don’t have plumbing problems; my landlord didn’t suddenly turn evil; I didn’t find out that the apartment was breaking apart — everything is actually quite perfect. What I’ve realized over the course of the semester is that I miss the campus life. I know it is partly because of the person I am — I like to come back home after classes, change into my PJs and curl up on my couch and study — and that someone who takes conscious efforts to be on campus and come back to the apartment at 3 or 4 a.m. will have a different take on this. But if you are like me, you should think about this decision more carefully.

My little room in Morewood was always more full than this spacious apartment usually is. I always had someone popping in, whether it was the RA telling me to come to a house event or my friend from across the hall coming in to tell me how her day was. Although I disliked these interruptions when I was trying hard to study, they livened up my day.
The only time anyone has knocked on my apartment door has been when I’ve invited them to come over. The only time I’ve had more than two people in the apartment is when I’ve thrown parties in here, which, with this being CMU and CMU students being CMU students, has been thrice this semester.

Apart from friends and people in general, I miss campus itself. Being a junior biology major, I spend most of my weekdays in the Mellon Institute which, despite being a part of Carnegie Mellon, is 20 minutes away from the main parts of campus. Since Mellon is a mere five minutes away from my apartment, I had initially found the decision to move here all the more appealing.

I have two classes on campus and they are in Doherty and Porter halls. Anyone who knows how to cut through Newell-Simon Hall would know that you won’t even see the Fence if all you do is walk through Newell-Simon, attend your classes, and rush back to your next class at the Mellon Institute. So basically, the first day when I walked to campus from the front side, I was surprised to see the Walking to the Sky pole being taken apart. The next time I walked, it was there again. I miss walking to campus looking at the announcements chalked all over the sidewalks. I miss walking out of Doherty Hall to the sight of numerous tables filled with candy, brownies, pamphlets, apples, and anything else you could imagine. In short, I just miss our campus that is always full of so much life.

I know that my case is quite specific. I’m not expecting everyone making this decision to be a Hunt Library-avoiding person who is forced to stay in Mellon Institute, but you have to carefully think everything out before making this decision. Moving off campus is a big change, so take time to decide whether this is something you really want. You have nearly an entire semester to make this decision; think about what you want and make sure that you won’t regret your decision later.