How Living Off-Campus Changed the Game For Me

After one year of living in residence at Victoria College, I moved into an apartment for my second year of university. Though finding a place was challenging, living off-campus was the best thing I could have done. It changed the game for me— my perspectives on life, school, and Toronto completely changed.  First, living off-campus made me feel so much more at home.  In residence, I had a single room, but I shared a communal bathroom with twenty people. Though everyone on my floor was nice, I didn’t feel super comfortable. For me, living on residence felt like living at a sleep-away camp— fun, but not exactly relaxing. Being able to live in an environment where I could choose exactly who came into my space made me feel a lot more comfortable. 
A pink bed in a sparsely decorated room.
My room in residence- what a throwback!
Having complete control over my life also felt super good. I was responsible for maintaining my apartment, looking after myself on a daily basis, and communicating with my landlord. Though all these things were challenging, they taught me lessons and made me feel independent and capable. I finally felt like an adult living on my own, and it was very exciting! 
My roommate Elsa in our recently decorated apartment!
Living off-campus created a school-life balance for me.  When I lived on residence, school felt very important to me. All I really did was study and go to classes, and the people I hung out with were in the same classes and programs as me. But when I moved off campus, school just became something I did, rather than my entire life. For example, If something bad happened at school, I could go back to my apartment and decompress. This really helped remind me that though school was important, it wasn’t all-encompassing.
A sleeping duck.
Living off-campus allowed me to appreciate the city I was in.  When I lived on residence, I barely ever left campus. All my friends were also on residence, and travelling into a foreign city alone was daunting. But living off-campus forced me to finally explore Toronto. Even just walking from my apartment to campus taught me how to navigate the city and showed me all it had to offer. Once I started exploring the city, I realized that there were so many things I could do and new people I could meet, all around me! 
A park with sunlight streaming through the trees
Beautiful Christie Pits Park
For me, living off-campus changed the game in terms of how much I enjoyed university and my life in Toronto. But, living off-campus is also hard, especially with Toronto's fast-paced rental market. For next week’s blog, I’ll be interviewing Katrina Persad, Student Life Officer, Housing Education & Outreach. She’ll be giving us advice and explaining the resources available to help students with off-campus housing. Stay tuned!

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