Point Counter-Point: Is it better to live on-campus or off?

February 23, 2016

Many colleges require students live on-campus for at least the first year of attendance. Once that period is over, or if a student does not face this requirement, the decision to live on- or off-campus may be considered with each option having its pros and cons. Read why our columnists favor their current choice:

As a student who chose to live off-campus, of course I think it’s the better choice.

I had three options when I transferred to Lakeland: stay on-campus, live with my grandma, or live on my own. Having my own apartment with no roommate was a change and a bit of a challenge, but it was ultimately the best decision for me.

I understand why others might think the opposite: I’m not in the ‘community’ the way I might be living on-campus, I have to drive to and from school every day and I may be missing out on part of the college experience.

While these things are arguably true, I know living off-campus is so much better. I don’t have to deal with roommates, with constantly being around people without having my own space or with following anyone else’s rules.

Living on my own, I can do what I want, when I want, without having to consider others (to a degree). If I’m doing homework, I know no one is going to bother me. If I want to go to bed early or watch TV all day, I can and no one else is going to be inconvenienced or nosey about it.

I’m someone who values their privacy and is in need of having time and space to decompress from people – I get that by not living on-campus.

Did I mention the space? I have room to do stuff, like cook and have real furniture on which I can lay down, comfortably, that is also not smashed near a bed or Tetris-ed into place. My bed has its own room, with my clothes, independent of the rest of my apartment. And I’m the only one to use it.

And for the ultimate bonus, I don’t have to share a bathroom with anyone.

It probably doesn’t hurt that it’s forcing me to be a little more responsible, do my own cooking and cleaning, go grocery shopping and learn how to pay bills – you know, all the things a real adult has to do after college.

I may not always be up to date with the latest happenings on-campus, I may not be as involved as other students, but I get to leave campus every day and come to a place free of people and stress where I can relax.

I know I made the right choice.

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As one of the many campus dwellers at Lakeland, I witness first hand the perks of on-campus living.

While I have not experienced the life as a commuter, I know it is not the one for me. Living in the dorms was my first real opportunity to live away from home and allowed me to take a baby step before renting an apartment.  

Living on-campus leaves you directly in the middle of campus life. You cannot help but feel like a part of the community when you live in it. Even the dorms themselves provide built in sub-communities.

Living close with your fellow students offers an easy way to meet people. A commute might affect how and when you choose to socialize. It’s hard to have late night parties or get-togethers with people on-campus if you need to drive home afterwards.

Living on-campus provides easily accessible and readily available facilities and amenities with a housing plan, including the gym, dining hall and library. While commuters do have access to them, it can be quite a drive for them to access.

Having a meal plan on campus is like having a chef on call, you don’t have to cook, or prepare meals or even do dishes. Meals here on-campus are fantastic compared to other colleges, and there is a variety of options with the help of the Muskie Grill.

The best part of living in the dorms is the custodians who clean up after disgusting students. Cleaning the toilet and peeling hair out of the drain is something you don’t have to worry about. Now for us who live in the campus apartments, we do have to worry about this, but it comes with the territory.

On-campus housing payments are easy, there is only one upfront fee that doesn’t have hidden fees. Your financial aid package can even help with housing costs. The rooms also come furnished with a bed, desk and dresser, which also saves costs.

However, the big money saver is not requiring a car to get to classes. Not everyone on-campus has a car, or frankly needs one because on-campus living provides everything they would need. A shuttle is also available for those outside campus trips. Living on campus means shorter trips to classes, no long commute, and no traffic to worry about.

Overall, living off-campus can be a complete hassle and an expensive one. Personally, I would stick to on-campus housing because of its affordability, convenience and accessibility.

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