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 Living at Home VS Res VS Appartment in town
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Home, Res, or Apartment? Please explain your choice below
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:42 pm   Post subject: Living at Home VS Res VS Appartment in town

Assuming I keep my grades up, I'll be headed to UW in less than 2 years time, taking the Computer Science Co-op program. I've started thinking about some of the specifics, specifically where I'm going to live. I have three options at the moment: I could live at home, which my parents said is fine if I'm in school. I could also get an appartment in Waterloo with a couple of friends headed to Laurier. The other option is to stay in res.

I've been told again and again "Stay in res, atleast for the first year! It's an amazing experience! You meet people!" Blah blah blah. But I talked to some neighbors yesterday who went to UW, and they told me about how bad res was, and how much they hated their year in res. Now I'm second guessing myself, maybe its better to stay at home or in an appartment?

Each option has its pros and cons, so I'm not too sure which to choose. If I stay at home, I'll get free food and free rent, but it's a half hour drive to and from the school, plus I'll be paying my own vehicle fee's, gas, etc. If I stay in an apartment, I'll be staying with friends and stuff, but I have a feeling getting an apartment that's walking distance or even busing distance from UW will be expensive. Plus these other guys would probably be a distraction to my studying, whereas I'd have a quiet room to myself at home. And I don't know what to think about res at all.

What do you guys think? Is there anybody going to UW or any UW alumni who could maybe tell me a bit about res, and which option you'd suggest?

Thanks a lot guys,

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:01 am   Post subject: RE:Living at Home VS Res VS Appartment in town

The quality of residence really depends on the school, so try to take a tour through it. The residence at my university is awesome, while next door at the college, residence is terrible.

That said, it's all about making friends. There's no shortage of friends to be made in res. At an apartment, you'll have trouble meeting anyone outside of your roommates and classmates. Living at home you won't make many friends at all.

If money is a problem, then living with your parents is the cheapest option, and residence is the most expensive. Is the extra few thousand dollars worth having your parents nag you about homework though? Do you really want to bring girls home to your parent's house (don't tell them you live with your parents, by the way, or they won't go home with you at all)?

Personally, I loved res. I did two years of it at LU and had a blast. I absolutely recommend it as long as you can afford it. After a year away, you'll never want to live with your parents again. Grab an apartment for 2nd year+ if you don't want to do res again.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:27 pm   Post subject: RE:Living at Home VS Res VS Appartment in town

Everything happens on campus:

- lectures. Obvious, but you are probably not thinking of taking an evening class (and for some courses that's the only schedule that fits). This means you are either staying on campus until 10pm, or that 30 minute drive turns into 2 hours of commute on Tuesdays
- studying. Depends on your own style, but many prefer to work on assignment and study on campus. Study groups, project work, TA office hours are all on campus.
- all social
- all clubs

You want to be "I'm bored, I'll walk to campus" kind of close. Because really, there isn't that much more to do in the city.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:53 pm   Post subject: RE:Living at Home VS Res VS Appartment in town

Do you really think being close to campus is that important? Im torn, because people are telling me res sucked. I'll also have 3 friends that I know well going to UW with me, although in different programs.

Do you think this, combined with people I'll meet inclasses would be enough to get through the 5 years? I've never been much of an extrovert, I've always been happy with a few close friends. Thats why living in res JUST for meeting people kind of doesn't make sense to me.

Is it possible to get an appartment thats walking distance from UW? Like maybe 10-15 min? Or would it cost some ridiculous amount? I'd imagine these apartments would be fairly high in demand.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:46 pm   Post subject: RE:Living at Home VS Res VS Appartment in town

I can only tell you about my experience. I have only lived off campus, at two different locations, both about 4km away from campus. My current location is near the iXpress bus line.

A 4km commute in Spring term isn't much: a 15-minute bike ride (20-25 minutes if you're lazy). In the Fall term, it's even easier, because the temperatures are better and you won't have to stop riding until late in the term (which is mostly the final exam period anyway). In the Winter term, it's a disaster because biking is suicide and the iXpress (though excellent for a bus service in KW) is still a 35-45min commute (or worse, depending on where on campus you need to know).

Meeting friends in your program will be helpful. Even if you can't collaborate on assignments, getting reviews on courses and professors, or warnings about difficult assignments is very valuable. Even just somebody to commiserate with extremely helpful. I didn't really have that, because none of my friends chose to go past 2nd year in CS, and I didn't make any friends on campus.

You won't make friends in class. Talking between students is discouraged, and as soon as class ends you need to walk to the next class (and the chance of having two classes in a row with the same people is quite low).

There are apartments in the area that aren't absurdly expensive. Search on Erb near University (~1km) for best results. You could also try in the area East of UW between University and Columbia, but I had very bad luck there when I searched ~2 years ago.

Apartments will be 600-900$/month, depending on what you're looking for. Most will include utilities. You can also choose to rent a single room from a multi-room unit, meaning you'd be sharing kitchen, washroom and living room with 2-3 other rooms, and those are cheaper (still $350-550/month, iirc). In the immediate vicinity of the universities, chances are good the other people there will be students too, so the experience can be similar-ish to residence.

I'd recommend residence, for at least first term.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:16 am   Post subject: Re: RE:Living at Home VS Res VS Appartment in town

Nathan4102 @ Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:53 pm wrote:
Do you really think being close to campus is that important? Im torn, because people are telling me res sucked.

Yes, being close to campus is that important. No, you don't have to stay in residence to be close to campus. Finding a place to rent is not a problem if you start early. If you delay, there will be a shortage of places nearby.

Poke around to see what kind of commute options you'll have from different areas.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:27 pm   Post subject: Re: Living at Home VS Res VS Appartment in town

If you're still considering residence you should check out the uw housing website; it gives room layouts, and approximate costs.
Since I'm living in uw residence I'll try giving some pros and cons:

    Close to university
    Free utilities
    Garbage/recycling collection


    No ac in most residences (but you'll be there for fall and winter, so it shouldn't be much of a problem)
    You might not get a single room (you rank residences based on preference)
    Some rooms are small
    The walls are thin at some residences
    Some residences have bad wifi


    No-alcohol policy
    Some residences have mandatory meal plans (you can buy a meal plan even if you don't live on res), bang-for-buck may vary

And since you live near the University, consider taking a tour.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:35 pm   Post subject: RE:Living at Home VS Res VS Appartment in town

I'll give my perspective since I imagine it is unique. I've lived at Conrad Grebel (one of the UW colleges that people don't know much about) for the past 2 years since it accepts upper year students back.

Best food on campus - buffet style - all you can eat meals.
Small community, you know everyone in the residence by the end of the term
Knowledgeable upper year students living with you that are available to ask for advice
On campus

All food must be eaten in the cafeteria
Most expensive residence
Bad wifi in some of the rooms, great in others

Strong religious community
1 Community meal a week
Alcohol in moderation is you are of age policy
Not part of housing guarantee - separate application required

It is something that isn't for everyone but I would recommend checking it out. I personally recommend the college residences since they tend to be better for the getting to know people aspect and are closer to many of the buildings than the other residences.

That and the fact that there is little to do off campus for students makes me recommend going to residence. The pros/cons I listed are for Grebel specifically, but great opportunities are available in residence is more what I was getting at.
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