What does it mean to move off campus?


Kelsie Campbell

The city of Natchitoches is the true experience of being at Northwestern State University. The town is special in its own ways, ways only we students will ever really get to see.

Following the spring finals of my freshman year of college, I quickly found myself packing up my dorm and moving every little thing I own into a new home. The first home I ever rented.
My decision to move out of the dorms was closely tied to my entire group of friends also deciding the whole “campus living” thing was not for us. A senior friend of ours had rooms open since all their friends had graduated, so we were beyond happy to fill the space.
Unfortunately, there were more cons to living off campus than I had thought. Our home was 10 minutes away from campus, and our daily commute took a toll on time and gas. We resided in that first home for only 5 months before we moved to a duplex just off campus.
Despite all the issues with living on campus and all the struggles of living off campus, there are benefits to both options. Let’s walk through all the pros and cons of living off and on campus at Northwestern State University of Louisiana, from a student’s perspective.
First, let’s talk about why living on campus isn’t so great. If you move off campus, you have less money to pay! On average, the school takes almost $10,000 away from a student yearly for dormitory expenses. If you are granted enough aid to pay for the dorms on campus, once you move off, you could decline the loans you don’t need or get a refund check back from the school. Living off campus isn’t cheap, having to pay rent every month, but it will be significantly less money overall depending on how much your rent is.
On top of that, you don’t have to move out of your room every summer! You can fully move into a home off campus and get all your important mail sent there instead of back home. You can get all the surplus of amazon packages right at your doorstep, rather than at the post office on campus. You have complete and full control of your space however you please. No roommates, beyond whoever you choose to live with. You don’t have a curfew or quiet time and certainly no room checks.
There are no real rules or regulations to your space, like lighting candles or using hot plates. Of course, damaging walls or other things of that nature vary depending on the renter’s policy you may have.
Finally, you can start really building your credit (only if your landlord reports it). Should you choose to get the property under your name, you start your adult credit history, so much more than the little credit student loans give you. Proving to future credit inquirers that you can handle the daily upkeep of property under your name requires a lot of responsibility but will be an amazing boost to your future.
All of this goes to show that moving off campus can be an amazing choice all around, but there are some cons to it as well. Living off campus excludes you from a lot of the social campus events that go on daily most weeks. Everything is just a walk away, and all your friends and classmates could be living just a door down.
Living off campus, even if you’re within walking distance, is still a hassle. Having to get a ride or walking in conditions that aren’t always comfortable is a serious con to living away from campus, especially if you’re heavily involved with the organizations on campus.
Another reason walking to campus can be dangerous is that you often must cross major roadways to get to the safer sidewalks on campus. Aside from all of that, though, is the experience. Nothing beats being so close to everyone you are with, day to day. Your roommates can be fun too! Nothing makes people closer than struggling to take care of yourselves.
Roommates are truly a conflicting experience though. They can either be good or bad, it is in between. And having to maintain full responsibility for every inconvenience at your house can be tiring when all you want to do is call maintenance to fix it for you the very next day.
Despite this, a few other things are unique about NSU’s campus living. The “god siren” is a wholesome experience only those within range can hear. It truly does solidify an already wild time with whatever natural disaster may be happening while the hollowing sound of that siren rings throughout the air for miles.
So really, Natchitoches is the true experience of being at Northwestern State University. The town is special in its own ways, ways only we students will ever really get to see. Getting to choose to be on or off campus does not eliminate anyone from knowing just how awesome the college experience can be. It is your choice, and each choice is unique to its reasonings.
Whatever you may choose, I wish you luck in your future years here at NSU. Meanwhile, I think I may have just found my dream home for the last couple of years of my degree.