Tulane University’s system of having a requirement for both Freshmen and Sophomores to live on campus is not a common practice. In fact, many schools only require that students live on campus their first year, leaving them free to move off campus for the remaining three. The result is a learning curve for Tulane Juniors who have to transition between the two lifestyles. Luckily, The Hull has some tips to help make the process more efficient.
The hardest adjustment is often going from having a meal plan that allows a variety of options, to buying and preparing your own food. Cooking takes a lot more time than going to the dining hall so it’s important to figure out a budget for grocery shopping and schedule your meals beforehand. Find quick, easy and healthy staple meals to make on a daily or weekly basis. Prepare mass quantities of staples like rice and beans, and customize them with different spices, vegetables or meats depending on the day. Preparing food ahead of time also helps for when you come home exhausted and starving and don’t want to spend time cooking.
The Surrounding Area
Without RAs to help facilitate awkward ice breakers and plan dorm wide events, how else would you become integrated into the community around you? Living off campus doesn’t come with the same maps and guides, but it is essential that you familiarize yourself with the area. This could include looking up where the nearest grocery stores and banks are, but it also includes knowing what to do in case you need help. Know the location of a nearby hospital, pharmacy or dentist. Doing so will help make you more comfortable and confident in your capabilities.
When you live off campus, going back and forth to your residence isn’t always an option, especially if you live far away. Make a mental checklist of things you need with you throughout the day, and check them off to make sure you don’t forget them. Think of the wearing clothes that can withstand walking around New Orleans humidity, freezing cold classrooms and a potential thunderstorm. Pack a charger for your phone or laptop if you know you’re bringing your electronics. If you get hungry easily, bring a snack of some sort with you to hold you over until you can get home.
When you first moved to New Orleans, you probably had some idea that the climate was hot and muggy. However, you may not have known that there is a chance of rain almost every day from May to October. While it was easy to run back to your dorm while living on campus, having a compact umbrella that fits inside your backpack ensures you’ll never have to walk to class soaking wet. To take it one step further, always keep a plastic bag for your electronics or books that can’t get wet.