September 3 2015

The Confident Girl’s Guide to Your First Off-Campus Apartment by Samantha Chatkin, SFTL Contributing Writer

I love everything about college … except living in what feels like a 4 x 4 barricaded jail cell.

Most colleges require all Freshmen (and sometimes Sophomores) to live in an on-campus dorm. These dorms provide the bare minimum — a bed, desk, and dresser. That’s about it. Your first two years at college are spent trying to make what feels like a prison, “homey”. But come Junior year, you are finally FREE! No more dorms — It is time to move off-campus, and into your first ever apartment or house!!

For my junior year, I decided to live in condominium complex with two of my best friends. We each have our own room. Two of us share a bathroom and our other roommate has a master bath. We have a fully-applianced kitchen, huge living room, dining room space, and small patio. Can you say living the dream? I can .. and so can my parents since this is actually cheaper than living in the dorms. If you do your research, you can find amazing, safe places to live that are financially advantageous to what is offered by your school.

But, again this is our first …  ever…  apartment. We had no idea what we needed! Obviously there’s the basics:  couch, coffee table, dining room table/chairs, tv … but there’s so many other little things that you don’t even think about.

Even though you’ll need A TON of things for your first apartment, here’s 10 of the essentials:


  • Decorations
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You finally have your own space. Time to spruce it up a little! I loved getting creative with my roommates and taking advantage of everything Home Goods.  We’ve covered our living room wall with inspirational quotes and fun sayings on small canvases, intermixed with mini mirrors to add life to our walls.  We  got a fun colored rug and put an assortment of throw pillows on our coach. We even added an artificial tree in the corner of our living room to brighten the space.

  • Keurig

Coffee and college go hand in hand. But with no more access to the dining hall, it’s not as easy to get your daily cup(s) of Joe. The Keurig is perfect for college girls living on their own. My roommates and I have our own favorite K-cups, and it’s so much quicker and easier than brewing an entire pot of coffee. We can have whatever flavor we want, whenever we want. #TeamNoSleep

  • Electric grill

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If you’re anything like me, you’ll be thrilled to finally get away from that nasty dining hall food and be able to cook your own healthy meals. But with limited time to cook you need something fast and efficient. I picked up a T-fal OptiGrill which lets me choose from chicken, beef, panini, fish, sausage, or steak and it will adjust the grill to the proper temperature and then let me know how well my food is cooked as it’s being prepared — either rare, medium, or well-done. It’s arguably my favorite thing in the apartment.


  • Wifi router

Most college campuses have wifi everywhere .. literally everywhere .. even in the bathrooms. But once you move off-campus, you need to provide your own. Being technologically challenged I had no idea even what a router was. But luckily, you can buy a simple wifi router from any electronic store and there’s simple easy instruction guide that helps you set up wifi for the entire apartment in about 10 minutes!

  • Storage containers

Even though you are living off campus now doesn’t mean you won’t be on campus frequently.  You’ll probably be on campus for long stretches of time with no time to run back home. You can easily prepare healthy food for yourself and pack a lunch. Storage containers are perfect for storing food. You can prepare meals on the weekend or whenever you have time and keep them fresh all week in tupperware.

  • Tool box

Dad isn’t around anymore to put things together for you and fix whatever is broken .. it’s up to you. You can get a small toolbox with the essentials — hammer, screw drivers, etc. for all the furniture you’ll be putting together and wall decor you’ll be hanging.

  • Cleaning supplies

Well ladies, the time has come.. you have to clean up after yourself now. Mom isn’t around to vacuum or do the dishes. You’ll need everything from a broom, to dish soap. It’s now your job to make sure you keep your apartment clean .. you’re living there!

  • Kitchen supplies

Yay, you can cook for yourself now! But you’ll need everything from a pot and pan, to a tablespoon measurer. There’s so many things that go into a kitchen that you don’t even think about. Even though the initial cost of all this supplies might seem like a lot, you’ll ultimately be saving a ton of money in the long run by cooking at home instead of eating out.

  • Light bulbs

How many college girls does it take to screw in a light bulb? Well we could answer that if we actually had a light bulb. After being so used to the dorms we forgot about one of the most basic things … light. We had to provide all of our own light fixtures and obviously they need some bulbs to serve their purpose.

  • Wine

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What’s college without a little bit of wine (if you’re of age, of course!)


You’re now living with your best friends … go enjoy every second of it … in your stylish new apartment!  


2 thoughts on “The Confident Girl’s Guide to Your First Off-Campus Apartment by Samantha Chatkin, SFTL Contributing Writer

  1. Ah, love this! I’m living in my first apartment this year too… the Keurig is SO essential. Looking into that electric grill now!!!

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