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The Antelope

Moving off of campus was the biggest contributor to improving my mental, physical health

A picture of noodles

Near the end of the fall 2020 school semester, I was faced with a very difficult decision for my future: pay a couple thousand dollars to cancel my on campus housing contract mid-semester, or decide to stay on campus and risk staying in the bad mental state that I was currently in. I knew it was necessary for me to move off campus, and it was the decision I needed to commit to.

I’m so happy that I did.

I found a loophole to cancel my housing contract by becoming a part-time student, which automatically canceled the contract. I was willing to do whatever it took to cancel it.

There was a lot that went into me needing to move off campus. I lived for two and a half years on campus with roommates and shared bathrooms. 

I would be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy living on campus my first year. I experienced all of the fun college life that living on campus provided. However, I didn’t really like my roommate, and I hated sharing such an intimate space with a random person. But the good experiences outweighed the discomfort.

By junior year, I had enough of on-campus life. I didn’t do the research for cancelling the housing contract mid-semester, and I thought that I would be able to move off campus.

Living on campus that first semester was very telling of how bad my mental and physical health was. I no longer left my room to socialize with people in my sorority house. I used to leave my door open, so that people could come in and hang out with me. Instead, I felt trapped in my room alone in an attempt to avoid people. 

I left when people weren’t around, and I avoided my dorm like the plague. I loved having my own space, but at this point, I hated being in my room so much that I never felt like I had a place to relax. Moving off campus gave me the ability to be with my friends when I wanted to be but also have my own space when I needed to reset.

Another big issue I had with living on campus was the meal plan. Throughout my two and a half years of eating the cafeteria’s food, there was often not something available that sounded appetizing to me. I really tried to enjoy the food and use my meal swipes, but the more I ate there, the more tired I got of the food. It got to the point where I stopped going to the cafeteria completely, because I just assumed there would be no food I would enjoy. Even if there was good food, I couldn’t always assume there would be enough for everyone.

There was probably a point where I was eating out for every meal because I was so pushed away by the cafeteria foods. Some days I would go to the cafeteria, eat something I didn’t enjoy, and then have to go eat out to feel fulfilled for the rest of the night.

I tolerated all of these things at first, but my last semester was my breaking point. On top of everything, I couldn’t have any guests in my room due to COVID-19 restrictions. UNK also didn’t provide United Residence North and South with mini fridges. 

I couldn’t do or have the things that made living on campus a little more tolerable.

I knew moving off of campus would teach me crucial life skills that I wouldn’t have gotten on campus. Living on my own gave me new responsibilities like having to plan grocery shopping, cleaning an entire space, making meals and going to the laundromat. 

At this point in life, I seriously needed to have my own space that was not in a college dorm. Once I moved, I got a better handle on my mental health, lost about 20 pounds from eating healthier and I finally felt like myself again.

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