Campus housing still best option

I’ve come to realize living on-campus has many more benefits for students than living off-campus.

It offers much more convenience, involvement and focus, which helps students in the long run. There’s such hype and popularity associated with living off-campus, but in reality it may not always be the best situation.

The most obvious perk of living on university property is the convenience. This doesn’t necessarily refer to the standard situation of living in a dorm, having a meal plan and participating in campus activities.

Even living in U-Place or campus apartments poses more convenience than a standard apartment or house. Having your rent paid as part of your tuition at the beginning of the school year is great in many ways. It eliminates the stress of having to worry about rent, utilities and bothering with a landlord.

Knowing that the university takes care of your maintenance needs is quite comforting. It seems far more reliable than placing your trust and finances in the hands of companies or landlords. Granted, there are always policies and procedures to follow, but those policies are in place so that student’s best interests are all protected.

Another great opportunity that comes with living on-campus is the ability to be more integrated with your campus.

I didn’t realize until I met my friends this year how easy it is to be out of the loop. I still live on-campus, but being involved in only a few activities, I miss out on a lot. I can’t even imagine how much I’d miss out on if I didn’t live on campus at all.

My friends are actively involved in the Association  of Residence Halls and student housing, and know a lot about university activities. I discover much from them, and also through spending a lot of time on campus. With all the money I spend attending this university, it only makes sense to be aware and updated on what’s happening throughout it.

Living on-campus allows so many more opportunities to not only know what’s happening around campus, but to be actively involved as well. I’ve seen how informed you can be by being a part of ARH and housing, but in order to do that you need to live on campus.

Being involved in clubs is great too, but if you live off-campus it’s less appealing to be involved in them because you have to drive to campus whenever there’s a meeting or function.

Certainly living in an off-campus residence has advantages. It gets you away from the same buildings, people, sounds and even smells we experience every day on campus. It proves your independence and makes you seem like you know what you’re doing with your life.

While I have no issue with living off-campus, and certainly no problem with those who choose to, it definitely is in a student’s best interest to live on-campus for at least a year, especially the first one. This allows you to experience on-campus life and integrate yourself as part of the university.

That’s why many universities require freshmen to live in campus housing for their first year. It not only helps students manage their new-found freedom, but also forces them to learn for themselves what the true experience of living on campus is like.

It’s great to have your own independence and freedom. However, it’s still achievable living on-campus. It doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be tied down in the dorms or with a meal plan; which are expensive and frankly not worth the money.

In order to really know what true college living is like, you need to experience living on-campus at some point. It may not show it’s true appeal initially, but I’m sure when we have mortgages and bills, we will reminisce and want to relive these times.

Mary Ochs is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].