Life in a dorm room isn’t for everyone. And even if it’s a good start to your college experience, many students hit a point in their lives when it simply makes more sense to start living on their own. Living off-campus in Medford is an enticing prospect for many students, especially for those who attend Tufts University. It’s been well documented that living off campus can save you significant monies and have your own private room instead of sharing a cramped dorm room. We’re talking to students all across Greater Boston who’ve made the choice to live off-campus, in hopes that shining a light on their experiences helps other students to make informed decisions about where they want to live during their college years.
What school do you attend?
I’m a graduate student at Tufts University, working on my M.S. in Data Analytics.
Did you attend Tufts for an undergraduate as well?
Nope! I went to the University of Michigan. I majored in computer science in the College of Engineering, and also got a minor in Applied Statistics.
Are you from Michigan, then?
Lexington Kentucky, actually. I just wanted to get away from the town I grew up in, you know? Spread my wings a little bit.
Is that why you chose to live off-campus in Medford?
Kind of, yeah. So, a little background. Back in Kentucky, I had the same friends – family friends you know – and I knew the same people since I was little. I went to the same schools, hit up the same parties, saw the same concerts… never really went anywhere.
Had you left the state before?
Just across the border into Cincinnati a time or two for concerts. But yeah, that was it.
So you wanted to strike out on your own.
Exactly. So when I got into U of M, I was like: I’m definitely going.
Did you live off-campus for your undergraduate career?
Nah, I was in the dorms. And no lie: that was pretty good for me. I never really had to do stuff for myself before, you know? Cooking, laundry, that kind of thing. I mean – haha, that sounds bad – I mean I did that stuff, you know? I did chores.
No accusation here.
I just don’t wanna come off like a spoiled, um, slob? (laughing) So yeah, I did stuff but like, always on a schedule. My parents are pretty organized, you know? Schedules and all that. So when I moved into the dorms, it was like “oh man, I’ve got so many responsibilities now!” (laughing)
So that was a good adjustment period for you.
I think so, yeah. I wanted to move out on my own, but just being in a dorm was enough new responsibilities. I’d never been away from my family for all that long, you know? But when your parents aren’t just around the corner, you have to figure stuff out on your own. That took a while. But let me tell you, by my senior year, I was pretty done with the dorm stuff.
When you say “dorm stuff,” what do you mean by that?
RA’s. Roommates. Living in a tiny space. Like, you can’t have stuff in a dorm room. You can fit what, a laptop on your desk? Some clothes and books? After that, it’s pretty much it: there just isn’t room. Also, the overnight guest policy was… it was awkward. Not that having an overnight guest with roommates isn’t already awkward, but there’s rules about where they can and can’t go, how many stays they can have, checking in and out… it felt really invasive.
Let’s just say I was ready to be on my own.
Are you living by yourself, then?
Yeah, I’m on my own now. Nothing against my undergrad roommates, but I was really ready to live on my own, you know? I’ve never done that before.
How is that working out for you?
Love it. Absolutely love it. The course load is pretty heavy in grad school – lots of reading – and it’s so nice to just kick back on my couch and read without other people coming and going.
Nice. So tell us about your new place.
Sure. I’m renting a studio just off of Highland. Thirteen hundred a month, and that’s with heat and hot water included, so I feel like I got a pretty good deal. I’m five minutes away from a bunch of bus stops and restaurants. I mean, it’s listed as a studio, but it has an extra room that I use as my bedroom, so it doesn’t really feel like a studio to me. It’s not huge by any stretch, but it doesn’t feel cramped even if I have somebody over.
How’s the location working out for you?
On one hand, I’m kind of on the other side of Medford from Tufts. On the other hand, I’m on the other side of town, you know? University stuff can stay over there.
Let school stay at school?
Well I mean, kind of. Grad school is basically eating my life (laughs), but like, It’s nice to not be around it all the time. I feel like I can breathe. Take things at my own pace.
Other than that, I mean… it’s good, you know? Monkey King Tea is basically right outside my door: I can go get a bubble tea basically whenever I want.
So how do you get to school? Do you have a car?
Nah, I take the bus or just hustle over myself. It’s about half an hour on the 101, but Tufts is only like, 2-3 miles from here. So while it’s not exactly close, it’s not like it’s this huge trek to get out there.
Sound like it’s working out for you. Any advice, tips, anything like that for somebody who’s thinking about living off-campus in Medford?
In Medford specifically?
And in general, if you want. But definitely tips for living off-campus in Medford.
In general, I’d say to be sure you’ve got your daily routine on lock before you try living on your own. Nobody’s gonna do anything for you, and if you’ve got like, a flooding toilet and unpaid bills during finals week, that’s not gonna go well for you. So make sure you know how to take care of yourself.
As for living in Medford? I’d say don’t come in expecting this to be a wild party town. It’s got a nightly noise curfew from six at night until seven in the morning. It’s not like an RA banging on your door for playing music or anything, but rowdy parties aren’t going to go over well.
Me, I love that part. I’m trying to study here, you know? But don’t come to Medford expecting a club scene. Great for grad students for sure. It’s kind of… slower paced, you know? Low stress.