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Landlords & parking & bills, oh my!
After three years of being safely tucked into Quinnipiac dorms, the Class of 2007 has made the leap into the real world. Well, somewhat. Complete with rent payments, lazy landlords, and responsibility, seniors are getting their first taste of independent off-campus living.
The first step in this journey that we call “senior living” is finding housing off campus. Some students suggest starting early to find an apartment or house.
Senior Kristina Asselin put a deposit on her house last November. “You need to start looking around October, and if you don’t have anything signed by November or December, you’re behind,” she said. “It’s just so competitive because every single senior [is looking for housing].”
Once seniors move off campus, they are no longer under the watch of an RA. However, the students now have to answer to their landlord, a situation that can be different for everyone.
“Sometimes it’s hard to deal with a landlord,” said senior Carla Macaluso. “A lot of them don’t take us seriously because we’re students. They don’t realize that just because we’re young and still in college doesn’t mean we don’t have standards for the places we want to live.”
Macaluso explained how her landlord is too relaxed.
“Sometimes [our landlord] is a little too laid back,” she said. “Our house used to be his house, and he let his daughter park on our front lawn, and he still gets all his mail delivered to our house, but it’s our house, not his second home.”
Senior Lauren O’Loughlin related to the downside of landlords. “Our landlord does not listen to us and never returns phone calls,” she said. “We have to go to their offices to get anything accomplished. Our dishwasher doesn’t work, our dryer is broken, they finally just cleaned the downstairs bathroom, and we’ve been paying rent since June.”
Although dealing with landlords can be frustrating, many seniors are relieved that they are not dealing with Quinnipiac security and Residential Life.
“I like the fact that you don’t have to deal with RAs hassling your every move,” senior Mike Camerlengo said. “But I don’t like how Quinnipiac still has such power off campus. You can still get in trouble with the school.”
Off campus, seniors now hold parties in their own residences, so why are students still getting in trouble with Quinnipiac security off-campus? House parties become all too reminiscent of high school parties with Hamden police, and even Quinnipiac security, stepping in. Technically, since Quinnipiac is a private institution, they reserve the right to oversee off-campus parties thrown by students.
Yet, frustrating landlords and off-campus parties aside, there is still a large social aspect of the college life that goes missing once seniors live off campus.
Senior Jennifer Kenny described the difficulty of living off campus and maintaining friendships. “It’s hard to keep up with everyone when all of your friends live far away and you have to make plans in advance to get together and go out,” she said.
Senior Heather Stubaus agreed. “Living off campus makes me feel disconnected from Quinnipiac as a whole,” she said.
Being “disconnected” to the QU community could have negative effects on students’ overall involvement on campus. “It’s more of a hassle [to get to campus] now,” senior Lindsay Olzerowicz noted. “You have to put in the extra effort.” Many seniors simply won’t put in that effort.
Macaluso echoed those thoughts. “Now I’m just so much more less likely to go to campus for stuff, whether its office hours for a professor, club meetings, going to the Learning Center, why bother fighting for parking for a 20 minute meeting,” she said.
Living off campus, however, is not all bad. A sense of independence exists that is unlike living in a dorm. “You can finally have your own space without having to worry about Residential Life looking over your shoulder,” senior Brad Belin said.
Senior Sarah O’Neil cited convenience as the major benefit of off-campus living. “Its great living so close to places like Shaw’s, and Panera,” she said. “It’s just easier than living on campus.”
If you can put up with landlords and responsibility, living off campus has its benefits of convenience and freedom. But the divide between Quinnipiac students living on and off campus has never been clearer.
“Quinnipiac is a community.and it’s obvious that the community is on campus,” Olzerowicz said. “I don’t think they do much to make the seniors really feel that after three years you still mean something to them.”