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Sorry for the intermittent blogs of late, but I’m still so busy and have had no time or energy to write. I started school last week and will write soon about all of that.
For now, I need some advice/opinions/help deciding what to do about living. I am set to move into residence at my college at the end of the month, but I am now rethinking that decision due to some of the “cons” of residence. I am looking into moving into a shared townhouse with other students and today I am viewing 3 bachelor apartments in my current neighbourhood. I’ve outlined my options below, so please send me your thoughts – I need other people’s perspective here.
OPTION 1: Live in residence on campus
- Lowest rent option.
- No transportation costs to get to school – I don’t even need to go outside!
- Need only give 1 month’s notice to move out.
- Not enough freezer space in my personal bar fridge for my meat and fruit – would have to shop more often or eat less of these things. This won’t work as of September due to time constraints. I could buy a mini freezer (same size as bar fridge) for $200-$300.
- Share kitchen with 6-8 other students. I love to cook and cook often, so I’m not so keen on having to share this small space. Again, doable now, but harder in September when everyone has a similar schedule and is therefore trying to cook at the same time.
- Potentially no internet - this cuts me deep! There is (potentially inconsistent) wireless access in *some* areas of residence, but to be assured a decent connection, you need to go to the library. I can’t get my own internet hookup in my room.
- Limited freedom, as I only have my own little room.
- Not as fun a neighbourhood as where I currently live (midtown), but still good stuff around and mall one subway stop away.
OPTION 2: Live with other students in a shared townhouse near campus
- Low rent (not much more than residence, but extra costs for phone, internet)
- No transportation costs to get to school – 10 minute walk.
- Live with other students ahead of me in my program – good support system and knowledge base.
- Potentially annoying/crazy/depressing roommates. Living with people is hard, man. Even if you live with friends, this puts more stress on any relationship and can really affect your quality of life if it turns out you don’t get along so well as roommates.
- Potentially messy/thoughtless roommates. Different people are bound to have different views on what “clean”, “tidy”, and “courteous” mean. I am very meticulous about keeping things orderly and doing my fair share (or more) of housework and other responsibilities. I have found that other people tend to only do the minimum expected of them or less, so I often pick up the slack and it really gets to me.
- I am wary of moving in with people I don’t really know, because I have had some bad experiences in that department before. But nobody I know is looking for a roommate, and maybe it is better not to live with friends anyway.
- Not as fun a neighbourhood as where I currently live, but still good stuff around and a mall one subway stop away.
- Would likely have to sign a 1-year lease. Probably couldn’t move immediately.
OPTION 3: Live in my own bachelor apartment 20-30 minutes commute to school
- This is what I want most and I would be doing it if not for the money factor (see below). I have always either lived at home or shared a house/apartment and I really want to live on my own (as in ALONE, as in my own HOME).
- Privacy, time alone, my very own kitchen, my very own space, independence.
- Lovely midtown neighbourhood with lots to do within walking distance.
- At least $300 per month more than residence, $200 per month more than sharing. Oy.
- More about the money: I am already teetering on the edge of not having enough money for all 4 years of school, so this would be the maximum I can spend on rent. I am assuming that I will get the maximum in government loans each year (which I can’t apply for until May). Maybe worrying 4 years ahead is too anal, but I think about it. I could always move in a year, so these costs are not set in stone. Plus, I will have some more credit available to me in my 3rd and 4th years.
- There are some other sources of cash around, like part-time work (only possible in summers), cashing in a life insurance policy (OK idea), or going to my dad for help (hi Dad!). Going to my dad is my last resort – he already paid for one degree and I think that is enough.
- Other miscellaneous one-time costs, like a Swiffer, microwave, toaster oven, TV, VCR. However, my birthday is coming up, so I could probably ask for some of these.
- Would likely have to sign a 1-year lease. Could move immediately, but would give up my $250 residence deposit (one time cost).
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