MAPLE AVENUE APARTMENTS ARE A POPULAR OFF-CAMPUS HOUSING OPTION FOR STUDENTS. PHOTO CREDIT: NATALIE HABER
by Maddy Saunders
Krista Gonzales, sophomore PR and Ad major, looks forward to getting in her car for a quick ride home to take a short nap and to relax after a day of back-to-back classes.
“I love the solitude and peacefulness of my home after a hectic day on campus,” Gonzales said.
Like Gonzales, many Chapman upperclassmen enjoy the privacy and freedom of living off campus. Getting a house off campus can be an exciting change from dorm life but some students find the newfound liberty is tempered by the numerous responsibilities that come with having a home or apartment.
Some people found it hard not having the convenience of the cafeteria. Others found it difficult to keep up with the utilities, bills and rent.
“There is a lot that goes into having a house,” said junior health science major Brett Buford. "For example, there’s taking out the trash, cleaning the dishes and floors, and the general maintenance required when living in a home or apartment."
For senior film production major Sophie Singer, one thing she missed about the dorms was how easy it was being able to call facilities if something broke.
“A house is a bigger area to take care of than a dorm room, so make sure to pick up after yourself,” she said.
Sophomore creative writing major Krista Goldsmith recommended that roommates come up with a chore system so one person doesn’t get stuck doing everything.
Some students miss the proximity of the dorms to their fellow peers and to campus.
Sophomore IES major Remy Bessolo enjoyed living in her new apartment across from Panther Village but believed; “The dorms are great for meeting new people and having your best friends down the hall.”
Those who do not live close enough to walk or bike to campus have to adjust to leaving earlier for class than they did when living in the dorms. Although Gonzales lives about a five to ten minute drive from campus, she and her roommates leave about thirty minutes early for class.
“We usually end up parking on the fifth floor of the law building parking structure,” she joked.
Singer agreed that the parking at Chapman can be nerve-wracking and a demand on time.
“Honestly I don’t have class until 1 but I’ll get to campus at 10:30 or 11 and just to do work so I don’t have to deal with parking,” she said.
The biggest problem for Singer is paying for utilities and rent every month.
Buford’s roommate, junior health science major Emmi Schlaefer, said she works two jobs to help cover gas, groceries, the utilities bill, and rent.
Bessolo said her apartment is cheaper than the housing fee she paid for Chapman last year but she and her roommates are still conscientious when it comes to using the utilities. Some things they try to do to keep the utility bill low is to turn off the AC and lights when no one is home, only run the dishwasher when it’s full, as well as take shorter showers.
Schlaefer shared a similar sentiment about conserving the use of the air conditioning.
“It's okay to be hot every now and then,” she said.
For Singer and Goldsmith it was easy to find off campus housing because their places were passed down to them from graduating seniors in their sorority. But one major problem of living off campus can be finding the right place.
Buford and Schlaefer began searching for off campus housing in January and didn’t end their search until five months later. They also experienced problems with their realtor, who failed to disclose issues about the safety of the neighborhood of a home they almost signed a lease on.
Buford continued the house hunt into summer. He and his parents would drive from his home in Calabasas almost every weekend to look for “For Sale” signs. In the end, they were able to find a three-bedroom home for sale which his parents bought because they believed it would be a good investment to own property in Orange.
Schlaefer said that the housing search “put the most strain on our friendship we have ever experienced.”
Buford agreed and added, “It worked out well but the process was hell.”
Gonzales and her roommates faced similar problems searching for off campus housing. Although they did not begin their pursuit as early as Buford and Schlaefer they did have to continue looking well into the summer.
“We thought we were going to have to live in a cardboard box on Katella,” Gonzales said.
Their search for housing was complicated when one of their roommates decided last-minute she wanted to live on campus. All of the time and research they had done for four-bedroom houses was wasted since they had to switch to looking for three bedroom options.
In the end, Gonzales and her roommates found a home not far from and campus and are happy living there.
“I love my house. I love my roommates that live in it and the freedom that it brings us,” Gonzales said.