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Or independent, spacious, off-campus living?

For those tired of dorm life, moving off campus is an extremely enticing option. While there are a few downsides to the decision, there are a number of benefits as well. Listed below are some pros and cons of living off-campus. You can use this as a guide to decide whether moving off campus is the right decision for you.

To begin with the positives, it’s cheaper than on-campus housing. Although this is not true in all cases (if you choose to live alone in a beautiful studio apartment on the middle of upscale Walnut Street, it’s going to be way more expensive), in most cases, especially if you are sharing an apartment with a roommate, the cost will be quite affordable. Rent for two-bedroom apartments usually ranges from $600 to $800 per month. Adding to that an electricity bill of around a $100 per month during the winter, and an Internet bill of around $50 per month, the total expenditure per month is usually around $750 to $950. Split that between two people and you have to pay $375 to $475 per month. If you do the math, you will realize that for four months you have to pay a maximum of $1,900. A prime double in Morewood costs $3,170 per semester. If you choose apartment-style living offered by the university, it will be even more expensive. In terms of cost, we have a clear winner.

You have your own kitchen. If you were one of those people who hated it when you had to walk all the way across the dorm carrying utensils and food to cook, only to realize that the kitchen was occupied, off-campus living is for you. With your own kitchen you can spend hours cooking, clean up at your leisure, and not have to worry about what that suspicious-looking spill on the stove was.

There’s more space. This is an obvious one. You can have your own bedroom. There’s a living room that you don’t have to share with the 20 people living on your floor. You have more closet space. It is also great for parties — when you invite 10 people over, they actually have space to move around.

It’s closer to good food. If you are bored of cooking and are looking for options to eat out, you have a wide range of choices available once you live off campus. Apartments in Oakland and around Craig Street are near some excellent restaurants, ranging from Indian to Italian to Mexican cuisines — you have it all. Shadyside and Squirrel Hill also have a number of options for eating out.

You don’t need to worry about noise levels. You don’t have to worry about loud music playing at 2 a.m. when you have an exam the next day. Conversely, you don’t have
to worry about disturbing others when you want to play loud music at night. Apartments aren’t soundproof, but they are reasonably well spaced apart so that you are not disturbed by what is going on in your neighbor’s apartment and vice-versa.

Unfortunately, off-campus living also brings complaints. It’s far from campus. This is perhaps the most widely expressed argument against living off campus. Although this is a problem, it depends on where you live. Oakland and Craig Street really are not too bad a walk from campus, and once you start living there, you will find a number of shortcuts that take you to campus quickly. Shadyside and Squirrel Hill, on the other hand, do pose a problem and are quite a distance from campus, though buses do run through these neighborhoods.

You are away from friends. Unless all of your close friends decide to move off campus, you will be away from them, unable to knock on their doors at crazy hours of the day.

You have a much heavier backpack. There is no way you can run back and forth between your apartment and campus multiple times throughout the day. You end up having to carry your laptop and all the books you want to study out of. This may result in backaches throughout the semester.

Ultimately, though, if you really want to move off campus, there are ways to work around the disadvantages. The university Escort and shuttle are quite reliable and can take you home if you live far away and like studying late on campus. If you are someone who will miss friends, study with them during the day or have them come and stay over with you sometimes. As for the heavier bags, consider using library resources sometimes instead of carrying everything with you. Living off campus can be a great experience and while it does come with a few disadvantages, there are many benefits which can make the experience worthwhile.