Every year, students from all over Greater Boston choose to live off-campus while attending college. We’re interviewing students, as well as graduates, who decided to live off-campus while attending school in Boston. Mission Hill has always been a popular destination for students, so we wanted to hear about it for ourselves.
Thanks for speaking with us today. So, you lived in Mission Hill as a junior, correct?
Yep! I went to school in Fenway, then moved off-campus. Moved to Mission Hill my junior year, which was great.
How was the commute?
Not as bad as you might think.
Yeah, if you move at a fast pace, it’s like ten-fifteen minutes to campus at most. If you catch the T correctly it can be even shorter. Sometimes I walk fast and head towards the campus and when I see the T coming in the distance, I hurry to the next stop and grab it.
Really? I didn’t know that.
Yeah, they don’t tell you that on the maps, for sure. It’s a mental game I play to keep it interesting.
So what led you to want to move off-campus?
A couple reasons. First, Mission Hill is great all by itself, But I also wanted my own space. I wanted a bigger room.
So did you get an apartment by yourself?
No, I had roommates. I’d lived with roommates before in a dorm room, and it was…
Not ideal. We got to know each other much better than any of us would have liked. There was just zero personal space. But getting a place with my friends, I had my own room again, my own space. But even more than that, it was cost-effective.
So, when you live off-campus with three other people, take your rent, utilities, grocery bills, all that stuff – take it, and quarter it. It was crazy affordable in comparison.
About how much would you say you saved by living off-campus?
Between $3,000 and $5,000 a year, probably. Saving money was great. But even better was not having a roommate that wandered in late and woke me up in my own room. My sleep patterns were all over the place.
A big deal when you’re a college student.
Or after college. Keep in mind, you’re probably paying for housing with student loans. At the end of the day, it’s more than just that face value of $3,000, $5,000 or whatever: over the course of the next ten years, the final cost can double that. So you’re saving money every month, every year, but as far as the final loan value, you’re saving six to ten thousand dollars in the grand scheme of things. Just by living off-campus.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a little inconvenient to hustle through the street when it’s cold out. But not $5,000 a year worth of inconvenient.
Sounds like you really put some thought into this.
What can I say? I majored in Business Management. My mom said I liked to save every penny when I was a little kid to buy bigger toys.
You mentioned three other people. What was your roommate situation?
When I lived on campus, I had roommates in this tiny little closet, but I didn’t pick them. We got assigned. There’s this saying: the people you room with freshman year, they either become your closest friends, or you find new roommates.
When I moved off-campus, it was with other friends I made at school. We knew what we were getting into: I mean, as much as you can. At least I found people that liked to Ski so that made it more fun.
So this was the first time living on your own for all of you, is that right?
Yep. Lived at home, then lived on-campus.
So how did that work? It’s a big transition, doing everything yourselves.
All three of us, when we moved off-campus, we wanted to head off all those issues before they became a problem. Just get out ahead of them. So divvying up chores, who pays for what, that kind of thing.
Day one, we set up our chore chart. Figured out who was going to pay for which bills. Hold each other accountable.
At the end of the month, we can talk about who’s doing what, if anybody needs to pick up slack, who’s paid what bills, make sure we’re splitting everything fairly.
Tell us about living off-campus in Mission Hill: what was the environment like?
Absolutely loved the area. How do I say this…Mission Hill managed to give off this city vibe, it’s almost it’s own community. It has its own area, its own strip of restaurants, bars. Classmates from your school, students from other nearby schools, plenty of them are living in Mission Hill too. It’s this cool, great, great atmosphere. Love it.
With all those restaurants, did you eat out more? Or less, since you’ve got a kitchen?
Less, definitely. Remember, one of our reasons for moving off-campus was saving money. We had a Stop n’ Shop right in the middle of Roxbury Crossing in Mission Hill. So it was always right there, pick up some groceries when you need them.
We tended to do smaller meals, meal prep, so if you wanted to make something real quick, you could do that. But we did community meals together, where everybody took turns cooking dinner. You buy the ingredients, make the dish, and then it’s somebody else’s turn tomorrow. You get discounts for buying stuff in bulk, making big meals for a bunch of people. Way more cost-effective. My roommate was also a sale hawk and would buy a ton of things when he saw it cheap and then we would split the cost. It felt like a working team.
And if you wind up with leftovers, there’s more prepped meals.
Right, right. Leftovers turn into quick meals, and then you’ve got them around. So we didn’t eat out much. But when you did – like, you wanted to treat yourself after an exam or whatnot – you’re right there. Boston is like any other big city: you could go downtown, head to Alston, head anywhere. But if you didn’t want to pay for the ride, you could just head a hundred yards down the road, and there’s these amazing bars and restaurants there.
Those bars and restaurants made living off-campus in Mission Hill more attractive?
Most definitely. There were plenty of places to go if you wanted to have a good time. It’s the whole package in one area.
How would you describe living off-campus in Mission Hill for other students?
So, Mission Hill is a little bit farther away from the downtown city vibe. It’s a bit more yard and lawn feeling and less concrete jungle. Funnily enough we saw Turkeys when I went for a jog with my friend less than three minutes away in Fort Hill. Yes, we saw a bunch of wild Turkeys on Cedar Street. It kind of made me feel like I was a little bit more in a suburban environment. If you’re looking for that, Mission Hill is right where you want to be. The Green Line runs right through, so if you have an internship or co-op, you can get around with no worries. Public transportation is always close at hand, so you can really get anywhere you need to, no hassle.
It’s gorgeous, you’ll save money if you’re smart, and it’s just a blast to live there. And some of my friends have amazing views from their apartments. It really is a hill and you get great views from some parts of Mission Hill.
Awesome. Thanks so much for taking this time to speak with us.