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From dorm life to BAH

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ashlin Federick
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Do you hate living in the dorms?

Don't worry...its ok, I sure did!

I think a lot of Airmen look forward to hearing that magic phrase "your request to move off base has been approved" by the dorm managers. This phrase gives them a sense of freedom that they did not have before.

After recently hearing that phrase and moving off base, I have realized there are definitely some pros and cons between living on base in the dorms and living off base.

Even though I disliked living in the dorms, I have to admit; it was very convenient. I was able to get to work within five minutes and a lot of Airmen necessities were close such as the dining facility, commissary, Exchange, gas station and gym. In warm weather, I could even walk to all of them if I wanted the extra exercise.

Although I love living off base, I don't like the hassle the drive to work brings. I have to deal with traffic, long lines at the main gate and of course the inclement weather. What used to take five minutes now takes 20 to 30 minutes, and that is on a good day. I also have to make sure not to forget anything, because then timing becomes an issue.

I also found living in the dorms gave me the advantage of money. The only finances I had were my personal bills and the extra things I wanted. The move out of the dorms brings responsibilities, such as rent, water, cable and electricity. I will say, in the dorms it was much easier to save money.

I hope I didn't scare anyone from living off base, because the distance isn't all bad. One reason I like living off base is because I don't feel as if I am taking my work home with me. Living off base allows you to separate your work life from your personal life. It allows you to leave the area you work in and go somewhere that isn't just down the street.

To me, living off base has given me a freedom I haven't had since I joined the military. Room inspections, boring dining facility food and small living spaces are now past issues. But remember, with freedom comes more responsibility.

Being responsible is a quality the Air Force expects out of all of us. Living on your own is a good way to learn. Since living off base, I have now learned how to manage my money and my time from paying bills to waking up and getting to work on time.

Although I am happier off base, I understand it may be harder for some. Some people like the dorms because of the convenience. If you think you are ready to venture out, make sure your finances are in order and you are ready for the responsibility.