Going to college can be stressful. Here are something things that can help you decide where to live throughout it.
Let me start with the reasons you wouldn't want to live in a dorm.
- The cost. Tuition when going to Uni can be expensive as it is, but have you looked at a price of a dorm? Where I go to school, I'm paying about $2,000 a semester to live on-campus, but compared to other schools, that's nothing. For room and board at the University of Texas, undergraduate students are looking to pay about $5,000 a semester.
- Community bathrooms. Community bathrooms are gross—and that's that. People do not know how to pick up after themselves. You never know who was sitting on that toilet seat before you. And it also gets a little embarrassing for girls when it's that time of the month. Along with that, community showers are even worse. The fact that I have to wear shower shoes to get clean... is just not ideal.
- Weird roommates. So you're going to a new school and you don't know anyone else that's going there. You now are stuck rooming with a person that you know nothing about other than their name (you might even have more than one). Story time: My first year at Uni I started in the spring, so I only had this roommate for one semester (luckily), and then I got a new one the following fall. My roommate was the worst type of roommate I could have imagined. She was so very messy. And I don't mean the leave-your-clothes-everywhere type messy. I mean leave-your-EVERYTHING-everywhere type messy. Pizza boxes from weeks ago on your desk, a packed suitcase from where you hadn't unpacked from spring break, a distinct line on the floor on whose side was whose. Yes, she had a vacuum; no, she didn't use it.
- Smoking. You cannot smoke in the dorm rooms. Okay, this is a given. There are smoke detectors in each room and burnt popcorn will set them off. So vapors, potheads, chain-smokers, this might not be ideal for you. (This is one of the hardest things for me.)
- Kitchens. You don't get a kitchen. You're lucky if you get a microwave and a fridge. You might have a community kitchen, but you have to provide your own food and utensils. Yes, there's a dining hall, but do you really want to go that far for food? If you want a full-kitchen and a full-sized fridge, I suggest getting an apartment, or an apartment-like dorm (that usually costs an arm and a leg).
Now here's why its a good idea to live on campus.
- Proximity. You're close to everything. Your class may be a five minute walk, McDonald's is probably a block down the street, and you don't have to go far to get practically anything. Now, if you're living in an apartment you could be five to thirty minutes away from campus by car—think about it.
- Community. I've always been a huge fan of living on campus because of the sense of community. You know the people you live around, you make friends, you live really close to your friends, and you get to see them every day. How awesome is that?
- Good roommates. I know what I said before—roommates suck. But honestly, you can meet your best friend ever in college, and they could be your roommate. Two of my friends had been roommates freshman year and they were weary at first, but now they see each other every day. It's not always bad!
- Activities. You can always find something going on on-campus. Sometimes your school may have movie nights for a couple of dollars, activity fairs, and large activities, such as a dance competition that everyone is invited to. And at some schools, your dorms may have activities. For example, our dorm will have an hour where we just sit and paint. I found my love of painting through school!
- Money. Yes, I know I said that dorm rooms are expensive but things add up when you live on your own. First of all, you have to pay for gas to get back and forth to school. If you live on campus you can just walk or ride your bike. Second, you have to buy your own food if you live by yourself. At school, you just walk to the dining hall, eat, and go back to your room. And some schools will even give you extra money on your account just to buy food from food chains they have on campus. Lastly, you don't have to pay rent every month, and you don't have to pay it now. You can literally pay for your dorm room with student loans. If you have an apartment, you'll have to worry about school, bills, and a job to keep up with those bills.