Off campus living proves to be just as fulfilling
August 25, 2006 —
The start of the school year inevitably triggers college newspaper columnists to pound out a few hundred words of advice for incoming freshmen on how to succeed in some aspect of university life. Most don't really want to do these columns, but based on various customs and social norms, we end up sending them out anyways--sort of like Christmas cards. And since I'm not qualified to dole out advice, I'll instead work at dispelling a nagging little myth that has always gotten on my nerves.
While not proud of the fact, this Monday begins my seventh year of college (insert obligatory Tommy Boy "they're called doctors" joke here). And in that time, one thing I keep hearing is that every student should experience at least one year of campus living. Students, administrators, alumni, and everyone in between rant on about the benefits of such an experience as if it's some sort of rite of passage.
"Man, I had such a bad experience living on campus. My roommates were drunks, I never slept, I'm poor, and I almost failed out of school. But I think everyone needs to experience that once, ya know."
This is the sort of backwards logic I will never understand. To me, it's like hitting yourself in the head with a tire iron just to experience a headache. If you know it's going to hurt like hell, why do it in the first place?
Long before I enrolled at SVSU, I made my decision not to live on campus, instead opting to stay at home and leech off my parents for as long as I possibly could. I saw the financial benefits of not paying for housing, the academic benefits of peace and quiet, and the mental health benefits of not living with a guy named Kyle from Omer who never washed his feet.
In fact, if I would have lived on campus I would probably be doing hard time in a federal penitentiary for first degree murder. I'm the type of person who puts high value on privacy, quiet time, and money--three things you don't have much of if you're living on campus. And still, it amazes me that many students can do it, particularly those who live in the freshmen suites. Any person who can live in a place which has affectionately and appropriately been dubbed "the zoo" is either a better person than I or certifiably crazy. Half a dozen kids packed into a cement sardine can, huddled up in a room like deer hovering around a salt lick? Not for me. If the DNR ever got wind of this they would probably suggest thinning them out to curb the spread of tuberculosis.
Now I will admit campus living can be a good experience for some, namely those experiencing teenage identity crisis saying they need to get away and find themselves or that there is nothing to do in their hometown. Then, they come to SVSU and end up saying the same thing about Saginaw two months later and move back in with their parents because they didn't realize how good they had it before. Living on campus would be good for those people. I'm sure there are other good reasons I'm not naming, but, ironically, I've never lived on campus so have yet to find out about them.
Ultimately, my main point here is not to bash campus housing or anyone currently calling such lodging home. Instead, I'll take my shots at those who think me and everyone else who has never experienced dormitory life are somehow worse off. I have happily lived off campus for all seven of my SVSU years and have had a great time and a good experience in doing so; all this without having a roommate, a suitemate, or tuberculosis.