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Archive for Saturday, August 16, 2003

Students adjust to life off campus

August 16, 2003

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Being a full-time student-athlete and not having to worry about cleaning a big apartment seemed like a great idea for Kansas University's Stacy Leeper when she was a freshman living at Naismith Hall.

But after a year in a cramped residence hall room, Leeper decided to move out.

"I just wanted a change and to have my own place," said Leeper, a junior who lives in an off-campus apartment with a couple of her soccer teammates. "Just the chance to experience a different living lifestyle was kind of exciting."

After a year or two in residence halls, students often move off campus.

"I think that after a few semesters living in residence halls, most of us experienced the typical college residence hall life long enough and want to get out," said senior Neil Mulka, who lived in Hashinger his first two years at KU.

"I don't mean that in necessarily a bad way, just that young people want to experience living on their own without a bunch of rules."

Although Mulka, who has heard of bad roommate stories and had a bad experience of his own, leading to his decision to leave Hashinger, said residence halls had their benefits.

"Their location is unbeatable for class," he said. "You get to meet a lot of people and can make some friends.

"But in my situation I woke up one morning and every sink in our bathroom had puke in it, and it didn't get cleaned out over the weekend, so I said: 'It's time to go.'"

That he did, and has found living in a house off campus to be about what he thought it would be, which wasn't completely perfect.

"You still have some of the same conditions because most of the students living off campus are still living with other people," Mulka said. "But the people I live with are good enough friends where we can work everything out."

So too does Leeper and her teammates, even if she may be bit of a neat freak.

"I'm kind of anal about keeping everything really clean," Leeper said. "And some of my other roommates aren't so obsessively neat.

"But they've accepted me and deal with my analness. Everything's cool."

Both Leeper and Mulka said living off campus can come with a cost, even though extra roommates may keep the cost of living down. Despite being off campus and dealing with more roommates' tendencies, both KU students said moving out of their residence halls was the right decision.

Roberta Floyd, residential manager of Meadowbrook Apartments, said 60 percent of her tenants were students. Floyd said Meadowbrook's student renters often gave similar reasons for living on their own.

"Almost all the time, they say that they want their own space and the opportunity to live more on their own," Floyd said. "I think the freedom of living off campus can also affect their college experience.

"It's just another way that these young kids can show that they are becoming adults."

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