Off-Campus Living in Fort Hill


fort hill off campus living

College is an incredible time, and for many of us, it brings on a suite of new experiences, ideas, and circumstances. For some, it represents their first time living on their own, with all the challenges and opportunities that come with the territory. To get the best look at the ins and outs of living off-campus in Boston, we’re talking with students and graduates to better understand the day-to-day reality of living off-campus. So if you’ve been curious about getting a place off-campus in Boston – and particularly in the Fort Hill district of Roxbury – then read on.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us!

For sure.

You’re a student at Northeastern, correct?

Majoring in business, yeah. We’re all business majors except for one, who’s in criminal justice.

How many of you are there in the apartment?

Four of us in total, all sophomores.

So, it’s four of you in one apartment. How’s that working out?

Oh, it’s not bad. I come from a big family, and I was in a triple for freshman year. This is actually the first time in my life I’ve had my own room.

Big difference from the dorms?

Night and day, my friend. Night and day. We were packed in there like sardines. Here, I’ve got my own room, my own space. There’s the common area, but we each have our own rooms. So when you want people, you’ve got people. When you want space, you’ve got space. It’s basically perfect.

So how did you meet your roommates?

One of them was my roommate in the dorms. We hit it off basically immediately. Not so much with our other roommate, but man, two out of three isn’t bad. The other two, I actually met on a group project. We worked crazy well together: just good organization, no attitude, just get stuff done. They were looking for new roommates, and we all wanted to move off-campus. So it just kind of clicked.

Would you recommend living with roommates to other students moving off-campus?

I would, yeah. I mean, I’ve seen some people go a little nuts on roommates, but if it works for them, then good on ‘em.

Care to elaborate?

Six people in an apartment. They’re happy and all, but that’s too much for me, I’m good, fam.

Can I ask how much you’re paying?

I mean, it’s a real estate blog, right? I figured we’d get into this stuff. We’re paying 4K for our place, right on the corner of Roxbury and Centre Street. That’s $1000 a month for each of us. We make it an even $1100 apiece, and that pretty much always takes care of utilities. If it’s a little less, it goes in a slush fund. It it’s a little more, we either pay it out of the slush, or split the excess four ways.

Sounds like you’ve got a good structure.

Easier that way. I like knowing how much I’m paying for rent every month, and I like having a buffer in case something comes up.

Do you handle chores and such in similar fashion?

Well…. I mean, I don’t want to name any names.

No worries, we make the whole thing anonymous.

Nothing like that (laughing), it’s not like, tragic or embarrassing. Just, we maybe weren’t that great about chores when we moved in. We just had our first roommate meeting last week. Just had to own up to it: the place was starting to get a little ripe. Not cool if you want to have company over, you feel me?

I think so. How’d the meeting go?

Well, it was kind of embarrassing for everybody. So it was like, okay. We need to be better about this stuff, otherwise, we’re going to lose our security deposit, nobody’s coming over. So we’re spending this weekend cleaning the place up. Nobody goes out, no video games, no parties. Time to do adult stuff.

Sounds like you’re getting a handle on it. Let’s switch gears: what’s it like living in Fort Hill?

I mean, it’s a big ol’ melting pot. People from all over live here, so I never really felt like I stick out, you know? I really like that.

How are you getting around?

Oh, we’re not far from campus. Fifteen minutes, twenty tops, and that’s with snow. So getting to class is, I mean it’s barely farther than the dorms. And if you want to go somewhere else in Boston, we’re basically right on a bus stop, and there’s stations all over Fort hill. Orange Line, Silver Line, it’s even got Commuter Rail if you need that. So getting around is never really a problem. I mean, winter can be brutal, but that’s Massachusetts for you. It’s an adjustment for some. I’m from Minnesota, so this is nothing for me. Call me back when the snow’s up to my waist.

Noted. Do you like living in Fort Hill?

Absolutely. It’s friendly, diverse, and honestly much more affordable than some other places. You get all that historic Boston stuff. Good restaurants.

Any favorite spots?

More than I’d like, if that makes sense.

Could you elaborate?

I mean, one of the big reasons to move off-campus was to save money, you know? I don’t want to blow that by eating out every night. But yeah. Merengue, I guess it’s authentic Dominican food? I wouldn’t know, but it’s incredible either way. I mean, that place is hyped beyond belief, so I didn’t think it could live up to it.

But the hype is real?

Believe the hype, my friend.

Any closing thoughts? Advice for anyone thinking of living off-campus in Fort Hill?

More than anything else, I’d say that you’ve got to figure out your roommate stuff. This is our first time living on our own, and we made some mistakes. We got a lot of things right, but we made some mistakes. Part of the process, I guess. But yeah, sort your stuff out and then get a place off-campus for sure. Freedom to do what you want, when you want. More space to yourself. It costs less. And it feels good, you know? Like: I’m out here, I’m doing this. I’m not going to graduate and not know how to pay my bills. I’ve got my adult stuff on lock.

It sounds like it.

I mean, mostly on lock (laughs). It’s all a process.

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