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Living off the campus grid

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A student boards the University Village bus that transports residents of the complex to and from campus. Credit: Mitch Hooper | Engagement Editor

A student boards the University Village bus that transports residents of the complex to and from campus. Credit: Mitch Hooper | Engagement Editor

Instead of fraternities and sororities, we have families. Instead of raging parties on the front lawn, a three-year-old is using the sand volleyball court as her sandbox. It may not be the John Belushi in “Animal House” kind of college experience, but the advantages of more space and peaceful weekends makes living outside the immediate campus area worth it.

Even though my apartment complex, University Village, isn’t the most wild spot in Columbus, it is constantly being updated and renovated to better accommodate the predominantly student population, along with families. They recently added a new “Residence Life Center” on the property that includes a work-out facility, tanning beds and a space for people to interact, study and hang out. Additionally, dealing with the struggles of utilities is reduced as electric, heat, water and busing are all included in your rent payment.

After living in UV for three years, I noticed one of the biggest problems students living in the immediate off-campus area or in the dorms face is finding parking. While your friends living on campus have to fight for a parking spot or sacrifice having a car entirely, you can enjoy the luxury of open parking lots near your apartment in some places for free, in others for a fee. Although, it does leave you with the decision of whether to pay for an on-campus parking pass or ride one of the buses — after moving to UV, I missed my first class because I did not know the bus route.

Living west of campus has it’s advantages and disadvantages. Whether you are trying to drive to campus, the Arena District or the Short North, it’s about a 10- to 15-minute commute since popular roads like State Route 315, Lane Avenue and North High Street are all easily accessible from Olentangy River Road. On the other hand, trying to get back to your house or apartment after an Ohio State football game is nearly impossible, because the streets connecting back to Ackerman and Olentangy River roads are usually shutdown.

Each off-campus spot has its benefits — some areas are short walk or bike ride to campus, while others, such as the houses east of North High Street, are closer to bars for those who prefer the nightlife. I recommend exploring your off-campus area once you move in. Find your nearest food options, a coffee shop or even a park. One must-have in my book is a reliable Chinese restaurant that delivers — my personal preference is Taste of Orient.

Whether it’s been a long day of classes or a long night out, coming home to my quiet neighborhood on Stinchcomb Drive is always my favorite part of the day.

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