Last Sunday I moved into my house for this semester. Now I officially live off campus.
The significance of this can’t be understated. Only some 250 Oberlin students are allowed to live off campus each year, nearly all of them seniors or fifth-years. Understandably, there is a palpable anxiety in the air when ResEd releases the first batch of students to off-campus housing. Every senior seems to be thinking the same question: “Is my lottery number high-up enough on the list for me to actually get off campus status?” (For fun, try this Google search. Nearly all of the results are Oberlin Review articles and opinion pieces showing how the student body generally feels toward this policy.)
Of course, there are pros and cons to the College’s policy, and to be fair, it’s not really under ResEd’s control. The decision to move Oberlin toward an entirely residential campus seems to have been made by the college trustees, who were perhaps only following what is surely a nation-wide trend amongst undergraduate liberal arts institutions, i.e., our peer schools.
I only mention all of this to say that living off campus is sort of a big step for me. After five semesters living in the residence halls, three of which were spent as an R.A., I was ready for a change. I wanted something a little more personal, a little less institutional, a little more like a home. So all in all, I’m happy to be living in a house—an actual house with a yard and a driveway and a kitchen and a living room—but it comes with its own fair share of challenges. Shoveling snow is one. Keeping the place clean is another.
We’ll see how it goes. I still have to meet some of my housemates (and figure out where the vacuum cleaner is stored), and I’m not entirely unpacked yet, but I think I’m off to a good start. I even put down a deposit for next year’s house.