Apartment Living 101

By Lily Villa


Getting out of the house and finally becoming independent is something I feel a lot of college students look forward to. Living in an apartment is nice because you can essentially do whatever you want whenever you want. Though it’s not always as easy as we’d like, it is something you’ll learn from and get better at.

Since I graduated from a community college in Chicago’s western suburbs, I lived with my parents for the first two years of my college career. Sometimes it was a hassle to drive back and forth from class to work to my house every day of the week, but eating homemade food after class almost made it worth it.

That’s probably one of the first things you’ll miss about home once you move into your apartment. You’ll get to the point where you run out of places to eat on Green Street, or you’ll notice that all your money is going to fast food. I won’t say I’m a chef and cook gourmet meals for myself every day, but I’ve learned enough in the kitchen to get by. Doing grocery shopping and stocking up on pastas, soup, bagels, and cereal ends up being less expensive (and probably healthier) than buying Jimmy John’s every day.

Another thing I’ve learned thanks to living in an apartment is the value of getting out and getting involved. I’ve never lived in a dorm room, so I can’t speak on that, but I know most students who have, ended up meeting most of their friends on their dorm floor or complex. Having your own bedroom in an apartment is nice, but it is not as easy to meet or interact with people if you never get out. Luckily, there are so many clubs and organizations at U of I that already exist that you can become a part of. All it takes is to have that motivation to get out!

Last but not least: roommates. Getting along with your roommates is essential to living in an apartment. I say this because you’ll have to share common areas like a kitchen, living room, and bathroom. I live with two other girls, and we have learned how important it is to make sure everyone’s on the same page with cleaning responsibilities, general “house rules,” and that rent and bills are taken care of. My biggest advice is to be vocal with your roommates, and express any concerns early on so they don’t become bigger problems later on.

Living in an apartment can be enjoyable, or it can be hectic- it all depends on how you approach it. For me, it was something completely new, but I’ve definitely gotten the hang of it, and so will you!

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