Ever since I’ve been a freshman, I’ve heard the phrase “living down the line.” However, I haven’t had the luxury of living off-campus until my senior year.

Freshman year, I couldn’t wait to move into my dorm, until I realized that I would be squished into a triple on the fourth floor for the entire year. Since I was late on move-in day, my only option was to take the top bunk. Living life on the top bunk wasn’t as bad as it may seem, but it made me feel like I was a kid again. Every night, I’d have to climb up to my bunk, and my roommate would always be on my case when my sheets accidentally fell onto her bed.

Living in a dorm didn’t have many benefits. Having friends over was almost impossible because of the limited space, and if we were ever “too loud,” an RA would always be at our door in a second. I rarely had the room to myself, so alone time wasn’t really an option. The dorm did not offer a kitchen, so my only option was dining hall food, which became boring after one month here.  My roommates and I always had dinner together in a group, after spending an unnecessary amount of time searching for a table.

The second, and much cheaper option, was to move into my sorority house. It seemed like a good idea at first– living with a bunch of your friends. Although it was beautiful inside and offered a kitchen, I had to live with 60 other girls. We had to share a bathroom with all of the girls on our floor, and everyone had to share one kitchen. It’s almost like one of those reality TV shows where a bunch of people are forced to live together and the outcome is a surprise. Drama is ultimately inevitable with that many girls. Girls are catty, petty, and surprisingly, messy.

Fortunately, after three years of begging, my parents agreed to let me live off-campus for my final year at the university. Three of my friends and I found a house under 20 minutes away from campus with a perfect view of the beach. Honestly, what could be better? I have my own room, a huge kitchen, and can walk to the sea wall whenever I like.

I think my favorite part about living off campus is the freedom it entails. I don’t have an RA or adult watching my every move, and can come and go as I please. Visitors are always welcome and I don’t have to feel cramped anymore. Having this house has really taught me what it’s like to live on my own, and a lot of college students would benefit from that opportunity. However, it surprises me when people still don’t know how to clean up after themselves, wash dishes, or handle money. Luckily, I know I’ll be walking out of here next year more responsible.

Not only is it the cheapest option, but it’s an experience like none other. If you can, live down the line. For once, I think adulting is actually…fun.