Transitioning to life off campus

Living on campus can be easy, fun and super convenient (hello rolling out of bed and into your 8am lecture within fifteen minutes) but there are some major reasons why you might be thinking of moving off campus. 

Whether you’re wanting a little more freedom, to save a little money, or because you’re graduating and therefore have no choice in the matter (RUDE!) there are lots of things that you’ll need to consider when making the move.

Depending on the type of on-campus accommodation you’ve been living in, the transition process will be a little different, after all our University offers something for everyone. Let’s explore  a few things that are common to almost everyone moving out of student housing and into the rental market. 

Before you even move into a sharehouse, you’ll usually need to find one or seven pals you’d like to live with. Figuring out if your lifestyle and priorities are compatible is one of the most important parts of picking a housemate. Do you all want to live in similar areas? Have a similar budget in mind? Do you have similar ideas of what clean means?

Finding a Place

These can be difficult conversations to have, and may mean making tough choices about who you love hanging with but definitely should not live with. But just think, if it’s hard to have a conversation about a hypothetical issue, it’s going to be so much harder when you’re both committed and you’re the only one replacing the toilet paper, doing the dishes or paying the bills, every dang time!

Next, to apply for a house you’ll need references, payslips, and identification documents so make sure you’ve got these handy. When it comes to references without a rental record, reach out to a family friend, a boss, or your Residential Mentor to vouch for you and your impressive powers of being a *responsible adult*.

Once you’ve been approved for a house, congrats btw,  you’re going to need some sweet furniture to kit out the new digs. This can be both exciting and overwhelming after having everything you need provided, in all its chipboard glory, by the University.

Settling In

A good place to start when you’re faced with paying rent, bond, connection fees, plus all the other hidden expenses, is to source second-hand furniture wherever possible. And it’s now easier than ever before. Whether your local second hand shop, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace or a post on social media asking friends and family, you’re likely to score a major bargain and get to test out different styles and colours to find what you like. Plus it’s nicer on the environment and your wallet. Win, win.

And on that fiscally responsible note, it’s worth talking money with your future roomies, right from the start. Dividing up bills, groceries and who bought the detergent the last three times is often what causes major conflict and resentment in otherwise good arrangements. Early on in my sharing days I was asked to use the money sharing app Splitwise ( free for Android, iOS and web).  At the time I thought my new housemate must be a pedantic, slightly neurotic penny pincher, but he was actually introducing me to the greatest gift of my sharehouse life: the gift of never having to talk to my housemates about money. It’s seriously happy household witchcraft.

You can use Splitwise or any of the many, similar apps (here, here and here) to add in anything from your big electricity bills to a few items you grabbed for the house in your grocery shop. You can select the cost to be split evenly, to be paid by one person or really any combination you think of and it can be incredibly liberating, not more hassling people about the $17.45 you dropped on cleaning supplies. Amazing.

With just a bit of communication, a few laps around your local second hand store and the power of some truly magic technology, you can totally nail this next big life step. So, potluck at yours next Friday?

Feature image via: Unsplash and inset images via: Giphy  

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