Choosing to move off-campus is sometimes easier said than done. Your soon-to-be-junior might have questions like, Where do I live? Who do I live with? What about roommate conflict? How will I create boundaries?
There are 101 questions running through students’ minds as they make the jump from on-campus living to off-campus.
We asked two UW-Stout alums about their thoughts.
“Finding housing in Menomonie is easy and it’s not too expensive. Landlords can be difficult to work with, so make sure you trust your landlord before moving in. I think that it is better to live with people who you know but are not your best friends because it prevents conflict," said Olivia Satterlee, a human development and family services graduate.
As easy as renting a safe and comfortable space might be, dynamics within your student’s home are just as important. Erica Holbrook, a graphic design and interactive media graduate, shared her thoughts on setting roommate expectations. “Before moving in together, I would recommend having a meeting where everyone discusses a chore list and other general housekeeping rules. This ensures everyone is on the same page about how things will be run around the house. We all have been raised differently by our families, so our standards of living and general experiences are going to vary,” she said.
“Another idea to consider is establishing ‘quiet hours,’ just like in the dorms. If you like to stay up late studying or have a hard time sleeping when there’s sound, this makes sure you are getting the respect you deserve,” Holbrook added. “Everyone should feel comfortable and welcome in their own home, so having a conversation with your roommates about these things will hopefully help everyone get along and prevent conflicts from arising.”
While living off-campus allows for more freedom and independence, it can be hard to find a healthy mix of playtime and work time. Holbrook suggests making a daily routine. “If you’re planning on moving in with your friends, it can be really fun to always be hanging out with them because it’s like a never-ending sleepover. This can easily distract you from your homework though, so finding a healthy balance is going to be super important,” she said.
Holbrook suggests students eliminate distractions and find a favorite place outside their home to concentrate on schoolwork. Maybe it’s the Memorial Student Center. the library or a café downtown.
When your student makes the choice to live off-campus, setting boundaries and prioritizing time and space for academics can be the secrets to their success.