Moved out of your parent’s house or living off-campus for the first time and feeling a little overwhelmed? Living off-campus has many perks, but there are some challenges too. Check out these valuable life hacks provided by your Off-Campus Housing Ambassador, Maddi Grove.
1) Find roommates with similar priorities and interests
No one wants to be stuck with roommates who annoy them. A bad roommate can ruin your off-campus experience. Compatibility is key. You want a roommate who will respect you and your boundaries. In a best-case scenario, your roommate can become your best friend. Find someone with similar expectations as you. This will reduce your stress load because school is already stressful enough. Once you’ve found roommates, it is helpful to fill out a Roommate Agreement. where you can list your expectations and clearly state your boundaries. Check out the Roommate Checklist in the Off-campus Housing Guide for more ideas.
2) Meal planning saves money and ensures delicious meals
Not relying on your parents’ cooking or the campus meal plan anymore? Want to eat well without emptying your bank account? One way to save money and time is through weekly meal preparation. With meal planning you won’t need to buy lunch on campus every day and get DoorDash for each dinner. All you need to do is get groceries, allocate two or three hours to prepare meals for the week, and you’ve done it! When it comes to recipes, check out the UBCO Cook Book or simply look up “lunch ideas” or “easy dinner recipes” and you will find a bunch of options. You can also download recipe apps and filter through your preferences. You might ask, “But won’t it be a hassle to get groceries every week?” Keep reading!
3) Give grocery delivery services a try
Did you know that you can get your groceries delivered? This comes in handy, especially if you don’t live near a grocery store. Most of the big grocery stores, like Walmart, Save–on–Foods, and Real Canadian Superstore, have their own delivery services. Simply go to their online store, choose the items you want delivered, checkout, and wait for your delivery. Shopping for groceries online can help you save the time that you need for meal planning and prepping. You can also shop at online-specific grocery stores or use third-party services like Instacart for deliveries.
4) Fit your schedule around the bus schedule
Although the transit system in Kelowna is helpful for getting around, it is not as convenient as most students on a tight schedule would like it to be. Bus pickup times range from every 15 minutes to every hour, and for some routes those times grow wider apart as the day progresses.
Additionally, the transit system is not far-reaching, which means that you might need to take more than one bus or walk farther than you would like. So, unless you have ample time to wait for the bus, I would suggest planning for your trip ahead of time by knowing which buses to take, when you want to catch them, and which stops to get off at. Luckily, there are a few ways to schedule your time around the bus schedule: you can download the Transit App, use a map service (like Google Maps), or use the BC Transit website.
5) Restrain from buying stuff you don’t need
Remember, it is likely that you will need to move again. If it was difficult getting everything into your new room, imagine how much more difficult it will be after a year or four of accumulating more things. So, the next time you go shopping and find something that you’d like to buy, think about whether you really need it, and not just right now, but in the future as well. Too much stuff can clutter your bedroom and cramp your style. If you keep it simple, you’ll thank yourself later.
6) Don’t punch holes in the wall
I don’t mean the holes you might punch into the wall out of anger – though you should avoid those too! – I mean the holes you make with tacks and screws to hang posters, photos, and wall furniture. Instead, find ways to hang up your things without risking your security deposit. And no, I don’t mean tape. Tape peels off the wall paint. Try using hooks with adhesives and sticky tack putty that won’t damage the walls, or get creative with magnets and clothespins. Just try not to make too many holes in the walls – trust me, you will regret it when it comes time to move out.
Find more tips in the Off-campus Housing Guide
Need support with off-campus housing? Contact your Off-Campus Housing Ambassador
About the Author
Maddi Grove is an international student who was born in the United States and grew up in Mexico. She is an English and creative writing major and a lover of everything to do with reading, writing, editing, proofreading, and words in general. This summer Maddi took on the role of Off-Campus Housing Ambassador and is thrilled to support students with finding housing, moving out, and everything in between.