Whether you live in Calgary with family, or you’ve moved out and are making it on your own (woot woot!), this blog is for you! Living off-campus either with family, or with some roommates in a rental property, is not that much different. I’ve never lived in residence, and while it looks like a BLAST, I have always enjoyed being able to leave the campus for my home. Here are what I would consider 5 Important Things to Know When Living Off-Campus:
Get a budgeting app on your phone
This one might not seem as obvious as others, but just trust me. Residence people listen up too! Planning exactly how much money you can spend each month on basic things like rent, utilities, food, gas money, coffee, and public transportation is so important. I use the app MINT on my iPhone, and it links directly to my bank accounts. I enter in what my monthly allowances are for each area, and it alerts me when my budget is fast approaching, if I’ve over spent (usually my coffee budget…), and even when credit card payments are due. Seriously, get a budgeting app, it will work wonders with your spending habits. It’s secure, and has a passcode so it can’t be accessed by anyone else.
Allot extra time for commuting
Depending on when and where you’re commuting from within Calgary and the surrounding areas, you may hit rush hour traffic on your way to class. Calgary is also known for some pretty intense winters, so road conditions are…how shall I say this…less than favourable at times. Give yourself a cushion amount of time to make it school, safely! It’s far better to arrive early for class, than late.
Also! If you park on the street, take note if you’re on a SNOW ROUTE. When we get a ton of snow, the City of Calgary can call a city-wide parking ban to remove the snow, meaning you can’t park on the street for a few days. This hardly happens, but nobody wants a parking ticket, am I right?
Get involved! Stay Involved!
I understand that it may seem more difficult to get involved in and around the school when you don’t spend every day and evening on campus, but there are tons of opportunities for commuter students! Our Commuter Lounge aims to provide a community for those who live off campus. They do meals together, provide tea and coffee, movie nights and more! It’s easy to sneak through university without those close connections that seem to form on residence, so put the effort in to meet new people. You can also show off your Ambrose pride by attending our ACAC Athletic Games! We have tons of home games, and our Lion's pride is off the charts!
You can still be a part of residence
Just because you don’t live on a residence floor, doesn’t mean that you can’t be a part of that community. You can become a Floor Brother or a Floor Sister, and join a floor on residence for all of the fun and exciting res experiences! They have weekly floor meetings, and are always hanging out in their common rooms. This is a great way to meet new people, get involved in lots of things, and opens commuter students up to a really unique community.
One can’t live off ichiban alone
While the freedom of choosing what you eat is awesome, you still need balanced meals. Ichiban and Nutella are great (and cheap!) options when you’re purchasing your own food, but a well-rounded diet is still important. Vegetables and fruit really are brain food, and your school work is important! If you still live at home, thank your parents for the groceries, because oh man is food ever expensive! Also, pack a lunch to bring to school. Eating fast food all of the time, gets really expensive and racks up quite the bill.
Shout-out to whoever knows the FRIENDS episode with Joey’s lipstick commercial… Ichiban!
I have loved being a commuter at Ambrose! It can feel harder to get involved in a community like Ambrose, but there are so many opportunities just waiting for you if you open yourself up to them. If you’re a high school student looking at university, or someone who is moving off of residence, these are the tips that I would give you if we met in person. If you have any other great ideas or advice to give, let me know!