“Where should I live?” is one of the most common questions prospective students ask me. I’m settled in my sunny, happy, 105-year-old Victorian house now, but before I started classes at KU Law, I was at the helm of a 26-foot moving truck for 1,704 miles. I’m familiar with the nervous-anxious-panicky feeling of moving to an unknown city in an unfamiliar state surrounded by other unknown cities and other unfamiliar states. Moving is always stressful, but if you follow these few tips, you’ll be in good shape before the first-day jitters set in:
I started classes at KU Law in late August of 2010, but began looking for housing on Memorial Day weekend. The long weekend made it easier for me to travel to Kansas and dedicate time to the search. My moving truck pulled up to my home in mid-June, and I was unpacked and settled by early July. Not everyone has to follow that model, but being comfortable in my space made it so much less stressful when orientation began. This tip will be more difficult for students with families, but by looking for housing in late May, you’ll know you and your family have a place to go when the big move begins.
KU Law does not have a particular area or apartment complex we recommend, but a good way to gauge the area is by asking the rental officer if there are a lot of families or graduate students living the complex. If the answer is “no,” then it’s likely to be inhabited with undergraduate students that can tend to get a little noisy.
Explore the area
Drive around the area at all times of day to get an idea of what the neighborhood is truly like. Lawrence is pretty small and easy to get around in, so even living a few miles farther from campus will not add much to the commute, but make sure the area is both daytime and nighttime friendly. Also, do a test drive from the complex to the law building to see if it’s a tolerable drive; Lawrence is infamous for potholes!
This seems obvious, but it really is the most important tip. It’s natural to feel anxious about an upcoming move and new adventure, but getting your blood pressure up is not productive. Try channeling that panic feeling into something relaxing. (Might I suggest picture-taking?)
I know, I know. You’re tired from the drive here and just want to take a nap, but trust me on this one. Starting law school is stressful enough without the added stress of coming home to a house full of boxes, and you’ll feel much more settled and comfortable once those boxes are emptied and recycled.
— Laura Hill is a 3L and a KU Law Student Ambassador.