I think it is important to have the dorm experience in the beginning of your college career. I lived on campus for my freshman and sophomore years and loved it. I loved the atmosphere in the dorms and I found an extremely tight knit group of friends. I had previously lived in a dorm at boarding school and had a phenomenal experience and was lucky enough to have an equally great experience my first two years at Nazareth. I thoroughly enjoyed my first two years on campus, but I think I have enjoyed living off campus just as much, and here’s why I’d recommend it as an upperclassmen:
1) You get your own room (in most cases). My first year off campus was the first time in my life I have legitimately had my own room, and it was a game changer. I enjoy sharing a room at home and have had a great time with each one of my roommates, but there’s really nothing like having a space that is 100% yours. Just because you love your roomie and you two are total besties doesn’t mean there won’t be times when you wish the room was yours. Friends or not we all need some time to ourselves, and I have really loved that aspect of living off campus.
2) Bathrooms. As someone who lived in dorms in both high school and college, I can vouch for the fact that the college dorm stereotype is simply true. While all colleges have a cleaning staff, students play the most important role in bathroom cleanliness, and there will always be those people on your floor who just don’t care. Living off campus is an easy way to avoid such people; since you only share a bathroom with a small amount of people you can simply speak to the messy person until they eventually learn. You might also be lucky enough to have your own bathroom depending on the set up, and man is that a plus.
3) You’re surrounded with your best friends. I think the dorms are a crucial first step in the early stages of college because for many of us, it is how we meet many of our friends. The people I currently live off campus with are relationships I developed through dorm life. You will have plenty of friends in the dorms, but the perk of being off campus is that there is literally no one else. In a dorm you may have neighbors who don’t like your music, or floormates who can never be quiet. Dealing with such issues is simply something everyone should go through, but once you are off campus it’s all in the past. Off campus, you do, of course, still have to be respectful of the people around you, but the people you share the walls with are your best friends and you will make memories to last a lifetime.
4) You get to make your own food, and I promise there are tons of delicious, easy, and affordable meals. College dining halls have come a long ways, and while they truly aren’t bad, there is still nothing like a homemade meal. Rather than head into the dining hall wondering about what the main meal will be or who’s working the grill station, you can walk into the store and choose your own ingredients. When I first moved off campus I could barely work an oven, but I now have a decent understanding of the kitchen and enjoy it. Not only do homemade meals taste good, but it is also rather fulfilling being able to put together your own meal. There will be nights when you simply don’t have the time to make a full meal, but in the end I guess that’s why we have Ramen noodles.
5) You further develop independence and responsibility. In a dorm you will have an RA to make sure everything is going smoothly, a cleaning staff, and a roommate to make sure you get up for class on time (hopefully). When you’re off campus you look after yourself, cook for yourself, clean your own space, and are solely responsible for being on time. Off campus living is an opportunity to help prepare yourself for life after college, and I really think it has benefited me in that sense.
While I do believe living off campus is beneficial, one thing that is important to mention is no matter where you choose to live, you will simply have the time of your life. There is not right or wrong way to go about college living, and many schools, like Nazareth, have great on campus apartments for upper class-men. At the end of the day it’s simply about preference. All that really matters is that college truly is a tremendous experience. It saddens me I’m only a semester and a half away from being released into the real world, but I am going to graduate with more memories then I could have imagined, and the majority of them can be attributed to my past and current roommates.
By: Packy Jones
Featured Photo by: Ryan Hyde
Packy prefers living off campus but JP is all about living on-campus; here’s his post about the pluses of on-campus living.