Month: November 2020

Surviving Life Off Campus

In our most recent Husky Hour on 11/18, we discussed the in’s and out’s of surviving life off campus. This is everything you need to know when you’re trying to find a place that best suits your needs. 

*All italicized words will have descriptions at the bottom of the post.


  • Figure out who you want to room with for the next year or six months.
    • But how do you find them?
      • Ask your friends, people within your associated student orgs, Greek life – someone or a group that you will feel comfortable with.
  • Meet with this group or person and discuss your needs
    • what do you want in a rental?
      • Make sure you’re all on the same page in terms of noise, payments, cleaning, etc.

Rental (wants/needs):

Here are the following aspects to keep in mind when looking for a rental, based on the needs/wants you have either discussed with roommates or if you are living on your own need//want out of a space.

  • While looking at all of these aspects, you will need to keep in mind the triangle of renting (cost, quality, location). The triangle of renting only allows you to pick two out of the three options available. To elaborate, if you are looking for something lower in cost you may have to look further away from campus or if you want to be near campus, you will need to sacrifice the quality of your living space. For example, you may only be a 10 minute walk from campus and be right downtown, but your bathroom ceiling might also leak every few weeks causing your apartment to flood. So, vice versa for the other options – if you’re looking for something nicer quality, you will either have to bite the bullet and pay more to be closer to campus or you will have to look further away like in Hancock or Chassell for a nicer quality place. However, if it’s over in Hancock or Chassell, it will most likely be lower in cost, so there’s a silver lining of wanting something nicer quality.
      • Type:
        • Apartment
        • Townhouse
        • House
        • Duplex
      • Location:
        • Near campus?
          • If you are closer to campus, you can walk there, but you will most likely be paying more.
        • Downtown?
        • Elsewhere in Houghton?
        • Hancock or further?
          • Do you and/or your roommates have a car? This would allow you to look further away from campus, but you do need to keep in mind that you will still be paying for gas roughly once a week or so. You will also have to purchase a parking pass for campus or will be paying the meters, as well.
      • Price:
        What can you and/or you and your roommates afford collectively? Consider that you may not just be paying rent but also:
        • Water
        • Electric
        • Heat
        • Internet

While some of these may be included in the rent, most of the time not all will be. Also, consider the following costs that you will all be responsible for either individually or collectively that will influence your decision:

        • TV/cable (which can usually be lumped in with the internet via Charter, but will still be more pricey).
        • Plowing
        • Lawn Care
        • Trash
          • Is there a dumpster, do you have to buy city bags, will you be responsible for taking it to the dump?
        • Maintenance

Lease Dates:

  • Almost all leases in this area will be for 1 year and can start anywhere from early May to late summer.
    • Think about the time frame you and/or your roommates will need to be moved in by.
  • Signed is usually completed by early November, but there will always be places available after this first deadline.
  • If subleasing, keep in mind the lease you will be taking on from the previous tenant and how long you will sign on to be there.
    • Are you taking on the rest of the year or are you taking on 2 months?

Where to look for rentals:

  • USG website
  • GSG website
  • Facebook marketplace
  • Houghton Off Campus Housing website
  • Craigslist
  • Class year Facebook group
  • Ask friends/ask around
    • Ex. I asked my friend the other night if he knew any graduate students going back home after this semester and he countered back and told me that he would have two rooms opening up in the spring for my roommate and I to move into.
  • Call landlords or property managers/look at their websites to see if they have anything available.
    • Ex. the Houghton Off Campus Housing website

When you Find a Potential Rental:
When you find a potential place or places, contact the landlord about doing a tour/walk-through of the property.

  • Keep in mind that with COVID-19, they may have more precautions or want to send pictures instead, be accommodating.
  • You can ask for a picture of the blueprints/floor plan, which will help you get an idea of the layout and what you’re in need of.
  • Ask all questions you have about the property, such as:
    • Laundry
      • shared, in unit, free or coin operated, not on site?
    • Furniture
      • Is the rental furnished at all, if so, with what?
    • Parking
      • How many parking spaces if any are there on site, is there a lot down the street?
    • Plowing
      • Again, make sure you have a clear idea about this, as we have snow 6 months out of the year.
    • Payments
      • Do you have to mail in a check, pay online? What day of the month is rent due by?

Keep the following things in mind when receiving a lease:

  • How to get a lease from landlord
    • Do you need to apply? How do you request/receive a lease?
  • Once receiving a lease, landlords should give you an appropriate amount of time to sign the lease, don’t feel pressured or obligated to sign something right away.
  • There will always be something else available, whether or not it is your first choice.
  • Ask questions if you have any.
  • Leases are legally binding documents, once you sign it, you are held to completing the terms.
  • Is it a joint or individual lease?
  • DON’T sign more than one lease, DON”T sign something you don’t understand, DON’T sign something you can’t afford.
  • Don’t be afraid to propose addendums if you feel comfortable.
    • Ex. If you agree with your landlord that you will take care of lawn care during the summer months instead of someone else in exchange for money off your rent, you could propose that would be in the addendum to make sure that you both are under legal obligation to uphold this.

Landlord/Tenant Etiquette:

  • Treat your lease like a business contract.
  • Don’t ask your current landlord about other landlords or properties that aren’t theirs.
    • Ex. you wouldn’t go to a Subway and try to order McDonald’s. Or you wouldn’t go to Rhythm and ask them to sell your old Walmart bike for you.
    • Either way, don’t put a landlord in a situation where they are selling someone else’s product.
  • Pay attention to emails/notifications from your landlord. These will include information you need to know, such as moving-in and moving-out, and other pertinent information such as plumbing issues or construction.


  • Triangle of Renting
    • The triangle of renting is composed of (cost, quality, and location) of your rental. It only allows you to pick two out of the three options available, depending on which aspects are most important to you in a living space.
  • Subleasing
    • Subleasing is when you are extending your lease out to a new person to take over already said lease. However, the original tenant on the lease will still be reliable for obligations within the initial lease signed.
  • Joint Lease
    • This is when all tenants sign the same lease, meaning that as a collective everyone is responsible for all rules, regulations, and payments agreed and signed on.
      • Used most commonly.
      • NOTE: If you need to break a lease for whatever reason and are in a joint lease, this means both you and your roommate(s) are ending the lease and can be liable for damages or may forfeit your deposit.
  • Individual Lease
    • This is when all tenants sign individual lease’s, for the same shared unit. However, the lease if for their bedroom OR their own personal share of the lease.
  • Addendum
    • Any additional material added to the lease that is not on the initial document.
    • Remember to communicate with a landlord if you would like to add an addendum.

Additional Resources:

Sample Lease

A Practical Guide for Tenants & Landlords

Helpful Apps for Students

Free Apps for Students to Download:

Here are some smartphone apps that will aid you in getting the most out of your college experience. 


  • Canvas:
    I myself did not realize there was a Canvas app until my 3rd year of college and let me tell you, this app is one of the only I have that sends me notifications. It is super helpful to see when announcements are made, be able to double-check assignments and due dates, and keep track of everything when you’re on the go and don’t have a computer open and on you.
  • Chipper:
    Not a fan of planners or want to save the trees one piece of paper at a time? Chipper is an electronic planner that you can sync up directly with your calendar to keep track of assignments, classes, work, and your personal life all in one place. While the initial start-up of the app takes a little bit of time to input all of your classes, work schedules, and such it is a life saver. Most of us have our phones connected to us 24/7 already, so why not make sure you’re staying up to date on everything going in your hectic schedule.
  • DuoMobile:
    This app helps a ton, as we have DuoSecurity integrated throughout all of our systems and applications for the university. With this app installed you will get the acceptance prompts right away to your phone, so you can then log in to whatever campus program needed, whether it be for the Michigan Tech app or for Canvas.
  • Google Applications:
    If you are a google person, these apps and others are great to have with you on the go. You can quick check-up on things like your email or a shared doc for a group assignment. While the apple calendar is good, we already have a Gmail for our school accounts, so why not just link everything together?
  • Michigan Tech App *only for Apple:
    With the new provisions enforced on campus this app is a game changer. Offering the MTU Flex Portal in their main drop-down menu, you no longer have to go click through a bunch of pages to find it. This app also includes your courses, any holds, your “Tech Express”, and all News sources based on campus. Having these things in one place, makes your day just a little bit easier.
  • Zoom:
    We all have become quite familiar with Zoom over the last few months of quarantine and school from home. One thing that has been helpful especially this semester, is downloading the zoom app for phones. When you are rushing between online classes at home and in-person class and only have a few minutes to spare, you can switch your online class over to your phone so you can still be present, but book-it to your class on campus.

Career/Job Search:

  • Career Fair Plus:
    This is what you need for fall and spring career fair. All of the companies coming in are located on this app, allowing you to book times with them (now with the new age of Zoom being our life), and get a feel for what they do and what they are looking for. When the career fair goes back to “in-person”, a map will be located on the app, to show where specifically you will find each company’s booth.
  • Handshake:
    This app is a lifesaver during Career Fair and can be used as a platform for finding jobs. Created by two MTU students, it can connect you to alumni, put you in contact with recruiters, and give you career options geared towards your degree and interests listed on your profile. So, not only is it great during Career Fair, but also at any other point in your life.
  • LinkedIn:
    This is a great resource for connecting with others in the job field. It will automatically refer you with others at the university and people who you might be interested in within your field. You can also access it online through a desktop version, but if you’re at career fair and want to connect with a recruiter or someone you meet right away, you can pull up the app and get it done then and there. 


  • DoorDash:
    The Houghton area now has DoorDash! Looking to order in one evening, so you don’t have to go out in the elements? You can now order from select restaurants around town, such as the Ambassador and Baby E’s BBQ.
  • JoyRun:
    Looking to grab some t-bell, but you don’t have a car? Request a runner who’s already out and about to go pick something up for you! JoyRun allows you to either request or pick up things for other users in the immediate area. If you’re stuck in quarantine and are running low on toothpaste and shampoo you can see if anyone on the app is heading to Walmart for their daily grocery haul and able to pick up a few things for you. Or if you’re out and about taking a cruise and want to make a few extra bucks, let others know you’re able to be a runner for them and be available to make some pit stops while you’re out and about.


  • #Mindful – Daily Motivation:
    While most meditation and mindfulness apps require you to pay for a subscription, I haven’t found this one to. It allows you to set up times during the day when you would like a motivational message and a reminder to check your breathing.
  • Health *only for Apple:
    I believe that this app is already installed on Apple products when you purchase them, but I personally didn’t realize the amount of resources it has. While you can track your steps or activity, there is also the ability to look at your sleep and mindfulness. Both are great resources at the touch of a button, that are free to use without any subscription or further download. 

Insights from Faculty and Staff

Director of Programming for the Roszā, Mary Jennings answered the following questions about self-care:

  • What do you like to do after a long day to relax?

Sleep! If it’s been a long day, I’m usually wiped out. The thought of adding anything to my to-do list, even in the name of self-care, is unappealing when I’m mentally or physically exhausted. On those days, the kindest thing I can do for myself is prioritize sleep.

  • Do you have any favorite books/podcasts/music that helps you get in the right headspace?

Listening to music, all kinds, is so cathartic. I’ve been listening to a lot of Lianne La Havas and Florence and the Machine lately. Before that I was listening to a lot of jazz. Spotify is a treasure trove and there is so much good music out there to discover. Mixing up what you listen to is a great way to shift into a new headspace.

  • How do you listen to your body? What signs tell you that it’s time to take a breather or let yourself recharge?

Start by feeling your breath – feeling it in your nose, in your chest, and in your ribs as you breathe in and out. Pause and concentrate on how it physically feels as you breathe. Then expand your awareness to notice whether you are clenching your jaw, or holding tension in your hands or neck or anywhere else in your body.

Listening to your body can also mean noticing your aches and pains, or paying attention to your emotions. For me, minor aches are usually reminders that I need to drink more water. Making sure your body is adequately hydrated is an often overlooked self care practice.

  • What do you like to do to recharge?

My first priority is making sure my most basic needs are met – nutritious food, enough water, enough sleep. If I’m still feeling a little drained or crispy I try to prioritize some alone time. This can look like taking yourself for a walk, reading a book, doing some yoga or simply laying on the floor staring out the window.

  • Do you have any advice for setting intentions or creating routines?

Start small and commit. The discipline of following through with your intention or goal can be uncomfortable, but also, know that you can do it. See setbacks as opportunities to resolve to keep at it, to try again next time. For instance, if your intention is to wake up 15 minutes earlier each day, but you happen to sleep in one morning, that’s okay. You can still wake up 15 minutes earlier tomorrow, you don’t have to throw out your goal because you didn’t make a permanent change immediately. Or maybe your intention is to be mindful of negative self-talk, or to gossip less. When you eventually get caught in a negative thought about yourself, or you notice that you are fixating on other people instead of yourself, don’t beat yourself up over the slip. Instead, can you acknowledge that your ability to be aware of the slip is a sign that you’re making progress? This can help you stay motivated and keep going.

  • Are there any spaces on campus that are nice and quiet, that allow for clearing one’s mind?

Yes, the Tech Trails! We are so lucky to have beautiful, spacious trails right here on campus. Being in nature is proven to reduce stress, and there are so many mental and physical health benefits to getting outside.

  • Do you have any advice for people who are new to yoga or mindfulness/meditation practices?

You’re off to a good start simply because you’re open to trying something new. When you’re just starting to meditate, do yoga or practice other forms of self care you might feel unsure if it’s “working.” Making time to tend to your physical and mental health is so important and patience is key when you’re first starting out. Be patient with your body by not stretching yourself too far too fast, and be patient with your mind if you find you’re constantly getting distracted or losing focus.

  • What do you wish you’d known or done in college that you know now? Or, what’s a piece of advice you have for your college-self?

It feels like you’re crazy busy (and you are) but this phase of life goes by so fast. Enjoy your friendships and make new ones frequently. Learn to be a beginner by trying new things often – you won’t be good at all of them and that is part of the fun (it’s also a really valuable lesson to learn – how to be okay with being bad at new things). Learn who you are, what you care about and what you value. This is a time to discover yourself.

Moving Off Campus

As we have been receiving more and more questions from students about moving off campus, we thought we would create a quick overview of a few things to keep in mind when doing so.


  • Figure out who you want to room with: Single, randomized, friends, etc.
    • If you want to move in with friends or someone you know, meet with them and come up with a list of needs:
      • Type
      • Location
      • Price: The general rule of thumb price wise to consider is:
        • Heat-look for gas, NOT electric
        • Water
        • Electricity
        • Internet
        • TV/Cable
        • Plowing
        • Lawn Care
        • Trash
        • Maintenance
      • Lease Date: Almost all leases in the Houghton area are for 1 year and will start anywhere between early May through late summer. Think about the time frame that would work best for all of you.
    • If you are looking for a place by yourself or looking for a single room in a house, you can use the previous notes to an extent.
      • Again, look at the type, location, price, and lease or sublease dates. Figure out how much you can spend per month and still have enough for other spending such as groceries, gas, school, etc. Look at the different options and decide what you will feel most comfortable in (you might not get your first choice, but there will always be other options). Make sure you’re in a good location, if you don’t have a car make sure it’s walking distance or maybe if you do have a car you still don’t want to spend a lot on gas each month.


  • You can begin by looking at the following sources:
    • Houghton Off Campus Housing (HOCH)
    • Undergraduate Student Government (USG)’s website
    • Facebook Marketplace
    • Michigan Tech Marketplace on Facebook
    • Houghton Rental Housing
    • Copper Country Rentals
    • Craigslist


  • As soon as you find a place you are interested in, set up a showing to view it. If you can’t view it (be understanding of COVID-19 precautions), look at the floor plans and pictures of the space. Also, call the landlord or company (or visit their websites) and ask whatever questions you have, such as:
    • Is there laundry on site? Is it shared? Is it free or coin-operated
    • Is the place furnished at all? What will you need to provide of your own?
    • Is there parking on site, if so how many spots? If parking is off site, where is it?
    • Plowing (again-since we live in a snow globe most of the year)
    • How can you pay? By check, cash, online, etc.? When is rent due each month?
    • Is it a joint or individual lease? *Joint lease means everyone is equally responsible for the full amount, individual lease means you are responsible for a separate portion of the overall rental
    • How do you receive/request a lease? Do you need to apply?
    • Are pets allowed? If so are they only ESA/Service animals?


  • When you finally receive the lease to sign, really make sure to read through it thoroughly:
    • You should be given time to read it in full and ask questions before signing-don’t feel pressured into anything.
    • If you have any questions, ask them.
    • A lease is a binding document-once it’s signed by both parties, you are held to completing the terms.
    • DON’T sign more than one lease, DON’T sign something you don’t understand, DON’T sign something you can’t afford
    • Again, don’t feel pressured to sign a lease right away, there will always be things available through the fall semester and into the spring, and even later on into the spring semester

Lastly, pay attention to emails/notifications from your landlord. They should be sending you over information on move-in and move-out, and possibly other helpful information that comes along with renting.