Most college students enter their freshman year excited for a taste of real freedom, but the real freedom comes later, when they move off campus. Harrisonburg offers an abundance of living options, from apartments and townhomes to houses downtown, and each place comes with its own set of perks. The endless options for off-campus living can be overwhelming, but with JMU’s close community and Harrisonburg’s free transportation, you’re not bound to just one area.
It’s important for students to have an off-campus experience. According to The New York Times, most students in the U.S. live off campus: about 87%. One reason may be that living on campus is sometimes more expensive; however, regardless of why the move happens, stepping away from dorm life is one of the best choices students can make.
Students are sometimes hesitant to move out of the dorms because they don’t want to lose the benefit of having all their friends one door away. Though, when you move off campus at JMU, that doesn’t necessarily happen. Every neighborhood in Harrisonburg has something unique about it, but there are many student neighborhoods.
Many sports, clubs, sororities and both professional and social fraternities facilitate events at members’ off-campus housing. With boundless ways to become a member of these organizations, living off campus can help students become more connected.
Most JMU students are probably no stranger to Devon Lane. This off-campus neighborhood is a desired spot for many students. Though there are more updated living options elsewhere in Harrisonburg, the energy is high and the people are fun.
Regardless of where you go, living on your own for the first time can be frightening and challenging, but making that first step is crucial for every student.
Sophomore Mia Cvijanovic moved into Campus View at the begining of this semester.
“When I stepped out [on my own] the independence was refreshing,” Cvijanovic said. “Once I fully got adjusted, it was really rewarding and I’ve loved seeing myself grow these last two months.”
Harrisonburg is full of enjoyable opportunities, and they’re easier to access when you’re not confined to campus. Downtown Harrisonburg has great restaurant options and fun places to shop. The city’s also full of great hikes and beautiful spots to watch the sunset.
To students who are hesitant to move off campus, living among peers from different years and different organizations and activities allows you to grow and expand your interests.
Abby Mello is a junior marketing and English double major. Contact Abby at email@example.com. For more editorials regarding the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the opinion desk on Instagram and Twitter @Breeze_Opinion.