I received my acceptance into Santa Clara a few months after most freshmen received their results. When I saw my congratulatory letter, I was ecstatic! I immediately started planning my travel, my classes, and of course, my housing. Unfortunately, by the time I submitted my housing application, all the dorms were already booked. My first instinct was to panic. My mind was over pouring with questions—where would I live? Who would I live with? How expensive would rent be?
After taking several deep breaths, I assessed my options. I knew that Santa Clara offered some school-owned off-campus housing options. I’ve heard only positive things about the Villas, a set of gated and secure townhouses that are located near SCU’s baseball stadium. I was also aware that the university had recently increased efforts to buy houses surrounding the school. These houses are marked by signs outside announcing that they are school property. Unfortunately, villas were only open to juniors and seniors, and most of the houses had already been leased. After all, finding a house to live in is something that is usually planned during the prior academic school year, not weeks before the first day of class.
Thankfully, the Santa Clara University website was very helpful. I was able to find a list of rental listings that were still available, and I found a number of houses that fit what I was looking for. The list included the contact information of the owner of the house, images of the rooms, the monthly rental fee, and the house’s proximity to the campus. When I visited the Housing Office on campus, the assistant present made an extra effort to help me find the right place for me. Days later, I moved into a solo apartment that was a ten-minute walk from school.
Of course, there was more to do! Believe it or not, finding a place to live isn’t the most difficult part of off-campus housing. I needed to weigh the costs and benefits of renting or buying furniture, hire a handyman to assemble the furniture, and apply for insurance and Wi-Fi. I’ll be the first to admit that the first few days of my move-in were hectic. While I was setting everything up, some doubts still nagged at the back of mind. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to live on my own, especially since I’ve lived with my family back in the Philippines my entire life.
Seven months later, I can say that living off-campus is an experience that I would recommend to any student. I’ve learned how to be more responsible by being on top of all my bills, how to cook for weekends I didn’t feel like going to Benson for breakfast, and even how to kill the occasional spider. Living off-campus is a significant step in becoming a more capable adult, and I think it’s an option that all students should consider, even during sophomore year.