"College, the best four years of your life."
That's what everyone says. And I can see why they say that. College is exciting; you get to study something you really care about, meet lots of new people, get involved in lots of different stuff, and just experience life in a different way. That is all especially true for students who decided to live on campus, which can be 15 minutes from home, or more than five hours from home.
Everyone says you need to live on campus to get the "full college experience." Which could be true for all I know, I've only been through one semester of school, and I've spent it commuting from home. While I did want to go away for college, the expenses of it just weren't worth it when I could save over 15-20k a year to go to a school that's only 15 minutes away from me and get just as good of an education. Many of my friends have gone off to school, and I've talked to them about their experiences compared to mine, and I've compiled a list of eight reasons why it's better to be at home for college (for at least the first one to two years).
We all love it. But it costs money, and college kids notoriously have no money.
If you're living on campus, you've certainly got a meal plan that you're spending thousands of dollars on, but with my experience and hearing from others, most campus dining halls aren't really that great. The food there is okay, and it'll get you by, but it's nothing compared to coming home to a well cooked meal.
Also, if you're at home, surely you've got cabinets and a fridge packed with food and drinks that you can get at anytime that's no cost to you. I know plenty of my friends that would kill for that and not have to constantly go out to eat and walk all over campus to find something they want.
This can depend on what kind of dorm you live in, but most beds in dorm rooms are not very big or comfortable. I'm 6'1'', and I do not fit on a dorm room bed comfortably at all, and I can imagine many feel the same way.
When I can come home and sleep in my nice, cushy, queen size bed with all the pillows and blankets I want, I want to stretch out and not have to worry about falling six feet to the ground.
Sleep is a precious commodity in college, and being able to sleep in your own comfy bed can help a lot.
This kind of goes along with the beds. A traditional dorm room for two people is usually pretty small. It's just enough for two beds, a desk or two, and that's about it. If you want a TV, it can't be very big, because I have no idea where you would fit it, as I don't think many colleges would want you drilling it onto the wall.
Why deal with all those close quarters when you could have your own room with whatever you want in it? I kind of lucked out, because in my home, we turned an old storage room into a bedroom, so I have space for my queen size bed, a couch, a desk, a table, and a 50" TV with plenty of space to move around.
I don't know if I'd last in a dorm room that would cut all of my space in half.
When I stay with my friends who live on campus, the #1 most annoying thing is when I have to shower or use the restroom. If you want to use the restroom, you gotta slip on some shoes (cause who would touch the floor in there with their bare feet) and walk all the way down the hall and use the nasty toilets that you and 30-40 other people share and most likely don't clean.
Same goes for the showers.
Being able to use your own shower in your own home that may only be shared with three or four people tops (who are probably much cleaner than a bunch of college kids) is so much better. You don't have to carry all of your shampoo and soaps with you and can use it when you wish. It's probably much better than the showers in a dorm hall.
Also, you don't need to wear flip flops.
Maybe this is just something students who live on campus willingly sacrifice for their experience, but there's almost no privacy in dorms. Unless your roommate goes out for a while, you probably won't find yourself alone anywhere else.
When you're showering, all that separates you from the person next to you is a thin slate wall. Anywhere you go to study or do homework, there's more than likely going to be other people there. The only room you can go be alone in is your own, and even then, there's people constantly walking around in the hallways making noise and commotion, so you just can't escape people anywhere.
It's a lot easier to focus on homework and studying when I'm at home, because there's much less distractions, and I'm more comfortable.
Some colleges don't let you bring a car to campus your first year for reasons I don't understand. A lot of students just don't bring their car because they don't want to have to pay to keep it in a garage or worry about it in general.
While campus transportation can usually get you pretty close to places around campus or around town, they only go so far. If you want to visit friends or go home or go somewhere outside of town, you simply can't if you don't have a car.
College is super expensive, and a lot of students at some point have to fork up some of their own cash to pay for it. When you live at home, you have the opportunity to get a job wherever you want, and usually, most part-time jobs are flexible with college students and their schedules.
So not only do you get to save up money to pay for school while you go to school, but you can make some spending money to go out and do things. If you're on campus and can't get a job that works for you, you can find yourself short on funds.
I know, I know. When you hit 18, you want nothing more than to escape and be as far away as you can from them and live on your own. I get that. And everyone should learn to be more independent and not have to rely on their parents.
But when you're at home, it's nice to have that safety blanket there in case things go to shit.
Since school has started, my car has needed three different repairs that they were willing to take care of, and when I'm in a pinch on gas money or money to get some food they are more than willing to help out. They don't give me a curfew, they don't tell me I can't go anywhere, and they don't ask much of anything from me other than to take the trash out and go to class and do well. They're awesome for that.
I know what some of you may be saying: we go away to school to experience something completely different. To live independently and meet new people and live the college life. And I understand that. I'm even a little jealous of it sometimes.
But when I think of the eight reasons above, I think they outweigh the 15-20k that it costs to get that "college life."
When you commute, you can still be just as involved and meet tons of new people. Where you live doesn't define your "college experience." It's what you do while you're there that does.