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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. My decision wasn’t actually hard, though. I knew it was necessary for me to move off campus, no matter what I had to do. This was the decision I needed to commit to.

I’m so happy that I did.

I ended up finding a loophole to cancelling my housing contract, by making the decision to become a part-time student, which automatically cancelled contract. Regardless of how I got out of it, 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 had lived for 2.5 years on campus, with roommates for two years and shared bathrooms. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy living on campus my first year. I got to experience all of the fun college life that living on campus provided. I didn’t really like my roommate, and I hated sharing such an intimate space with a random person, but the experiences that I was having outweighed that discomfort.

By junior year, however, I had had enough of the on campus experience, and was done with living in the dorms. I had unfortunately not done the research for cancelling the housing contract mid-semester, and 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 was no longer leaving my room and socializing with people in my sorority house. I felt trapped in my room in attempt to avoid people, when I used to leave my door open so that people could come in and hang out with me. I also avoided my dorm like the plague. I LOVE having my own space, but at this point, I hated being there so much that I never 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 refresh.

I also had a huge issue with eating on campus. Throughout my 2.5 years eating the cafeteria’s food, I can say that for a significant amount of the time there was not something that sounded appetizing o me available. 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 just stopped going to the cafe completely, because I just assumed there would be no food I would enjoy. And even if there was food, I couldn’t always assume that they would have enough for everyone.

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

I dealt with all of these things, but my last semester was my breaking point. I couldn’t have any guests in my room due to COVID-19 restrictions and I also was not able to have a mini fridge in my room, as UNK didn’t want to provide URN and URS with mini fridges. At this point, I couldn’t even do or have the things that would have made living on campus us a little more tolerable.

Moving off of campus taught me skills that I needed to learn to become my own person. Living in your own gave me new responsibilities like having to plan grocery shopping, cleaning an entire space, making meals, and decorating a space. I would not have been able to fully begin to figure these skills out had I still been ion campus.

At this point in life, I seriously needed to have my own space that was not in a college dorm. I was becoming a functioning adult, and living on campus for me was stopping me from growing. Once moving off campus, I got a better handle on my mental health, lost about 20 pounds from eating healthier, and finally felt like myself again.