Life Away From Home

Attention students worried about moving out for the first time! Well, don’t be, because we’ve got it covered. This fear is common. Trust us, we have been there too. Here are five things that current students think you should know before moving out for the first time. Let’s get started:

Should you stay? Should you go? Roommates.

Want to hear a scary story? We know. We know. This is how every conversation about living with a roommate begins. But, we are here to tell you, there are benefits to having one too. Who knows, maybe, just maybe, you will meet your new best friend. But in order for this to happen, take our advice:

  1. Before you move in with your roommate you should be asked to fill out a survey on your roommate preference. The survey will ask you about cleanliness, your sleep schedule and other questions on how you live. Fill this out honestly as this survey is only there to help you get paired with a roommate that best matches you and your lifestyle.
  2. Talk to your roommate and set boundaries. It seems like such a simple, easy thing to do but a lack of communication is the start to most problems. Ask: What are we sharing? Do you mind if I have friends over at this hour? What challenges have you faced with past roommates or those you have lived with?
  3. Have them talk to you. Even if you have great communication, a great friendship and truly enjoy living with your roommate, make sure they know that they can come to you when needed.

FAFSA better have my money: Finances

It’s no secret: college is expensive. After factoring in the cost of tuition, student housing and every other expense in between, the cost can truly add up. While your college bill might be a bit daunting, there is always help if you are looking for it. But where?

  1. Let us introduce you to Financial Aid. FAFSA is a form that students can fill out to apply for federal grants, loans and work-study funds. It is administered by the U.S. Department of Education which provides students with aid. While, your eligibility for grants and loans do depend on your financial need, many students do benefit.
  2. Another way you can lower your tuition bill is through scholarships. Although, you can find scholarships in various ways, we suggest finding them through the high school you attended, the college you are applying to and companies in your local area. Additionally, you can find them nationally through sites like ScholarshipOwl, and While, scholarships might seem a bit challenging to earn, there are many that go unclaimed each year.
  3. Finally, you can work job positions that provide education awards for college. Jobs like AmeriCorp give their students an award in addition to their paycheck. Awards like this work like scholarships and are given to students at the end of their service.

The wheels on the bus: Transportation

Picture this: It’s Spring semester, and the morning of a presentation your alarm doesn’t go off. There’s no time to make coffee as you fly out of the door without brushing your hair. You calculate that you’ll have just enough time to walk in as they’re calling your name if you take the backroads and park in the employee lot. You’ll sacrificing getting a ticket today…then you realize your car is blocked in the driveway. Things like this happen all the time when you suddenly have to commute to school instead of living on campus. Here are a few words of advice on how to always be prepared to dodge bullets like this one:

  1. Check with your housemates the night before to see who has class the earliest. From there, make sure you can easily access your car and get to class on time.Fun fact: No one likes being woken up to move their car for an 8 a.m, especially when it’s not even their own 8 a.m.
  2. When asked about how their routines are affected with living off campus, many students agreed that transportation was not something they expected to be such a headache. Figuring out how to get to school in the morning became yet another thing to have to think about. So, given this data, our recommendation is to make sure you have thought about how you will be getting to class before you sign that lease. Here are some local sources of transportation to help you out if you don’t have a car:- First, the Centro bus service is a reliable means for getting from A to B around town, as well as to campus. It’s a city service that’s free as long as you have your student ID.- Oswego has multiple independent taxi cab companies that can be found online, but the most popular in this day in age is Uber. Easily accessible with the App you can download on your smartphone. More and more Uber drivers are popping up around town, and are very cost efficient for students.
  3. Paul, a senior at SUNY Oswego, originally from Brooklyn, New York, has lived on John Street in Oswego for the past two years. In an interview, Paul mentioned how he struggled to get up early to shovel out his car when lake effect snow was at its peak. His first Spring semester off-campus was a disaster.Laughing, Paul explained how unprepared he was for the Upstate New York winter. Sometimes he would skip class to avoid the task all together. With slipping attendance, his grades were starting to suffer. So, an idea formed. Paul said one day him and his housemate decided to get up early and shovel together. This ensued multiple snowball fights and ultimately, a clean driveway. All their cars were good to go, and they basked in accomplishment. Paul depicted this as a great method for turning a backbreaking chore into a fun one, which had to be learned the hard way.Now, this is their go-to every time it snows. He highly recommends this tried and trusty resolution for all “the new kids on the block.”

We were staying on ‘campus,’ to get away from the parents: Freedom

That moment when you’re waving goodbye to your parents as they pull away from your residence hall and all you can think of is:

I’m freeeee.

Well yeah, you are! No more eating mom’s homemade chilli, making you clean your room, or nagging you to call grandma.

But now it’s a month into school, and you have no socks because you haven’t learned how to do laundry. You don’t even remember what the color of your carpet is. Some unidentified smell is lingering around the room.

Mom creeps back into mind.

Having to take care of yourself for the first time is a lot harder than it looks, and can be very stressful at times. According to our survey, multiple people agree that the freedom they have in their home away from home plays a major role in the hardships faced in taking care of themselves. Something to keep in mind is that everyone goes through it at some point in their lives and faced these same struggles. Here are a few tips on how to balance the work and fun while still keeping your life together (or at least making it look like it).

  1. Keep a planner, make a schedule, write lists. These will help you stay on track with not only deadlines for homework, but you can also throw your after-school plans with friends, general housekeeping tasks, and team practices in there. At first, you might feel like your grandma with that trusty address book in her back pocket, but this is a really good habit to get into. Here’s what a junior named Angelica’s schedule looks like on a regular day.
  • Take shower, make coffee, get to class
  • JLM news quiz – study beforehand
  • Work from 2-5
  • Finish reading for CRW and post response on Blackboard
  • Office hours with advisor (schedule next semester)
  • Go for run with Nora at Fort Ontario

2. Now that you’re living on your own, or are about to, you have to make sure that you have your own back. You get sick, run into money problems, and are having trouble with your roommate. Do you have a plan B? It’s important to be resourceful in times of doubt, so having outlets to fulfill this might just save you. Here are some outlets that we suggest you explore in order to….

– Join a team! What could be better than a group of friends, who also motivate each other to stay active?- Get a job at the dining hall, running the box office, or at the local YMCA in town. Picking up a few shifts here and there will help you gain a little spending money, and who knows, it might introduce you to some cool, new people.

– Ask your mom for some simple recipes to test out, which are beginner friendly. Preferably nothing that will make you burn the house down, or set the fire alarm off. But starting to cook a meal or two for yourself might turn into mediativie hobbie while staying fit.

Let’s taco bout Food

No more home cooked meals for you. Now it’s time to go out and get your own food. But where do you go and what do you make? That is entirely up to you, but the most common options are purchasing your own groceries, getting a meal plan, or buying ready-made food.

  1. If you live on campus, there’s a good chance you’ll be getting an unlimited meal plan. For this reason, the dining hall closest to you might be the most convenient. Not only is the food already prepared for you, but you have already paid for it with your tuition.Pro tip: Just keep an eye out for the hours because it’s not open all day and the dining halls close at different times. For example, Mackin is only open from 3-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday and Littlepage closes lunch early weekdays at 1:30 p.m.
  2. If you live off campus, then it may be time to ask for your mom’s cookbook. If you’re confident in the kitchen, Price Chopper, Walmart and Aldi will become your go-to spots for groceries.
  3. There are also a lot of choices when it comes to getting food. This includes fast food places in town like McDonald’s, KFC, Subway, and Wendy’s. If you’re feeling extra lazy, restaurants like Wonzones Calzones, Dominos, and Oswego Sub Shop with deliver straight to your front door or lobby of your resident hall.Pro tip: You can get food delivered via GET Food and there are already $80 dining dollars on your account at the beginning of every semester. There is also a GET mobile app as well. Food can be ordered from Mackin Dining Hall as a part of the GET app as well through a student’s meal plan.