Everyone who has gone through it knows that your senior year of high school is a constant mix of emotions, ranging from being sad to graduate to being excited to move onto the next chapter of your life. Usually, moving on means starting college, and, for most people, this means moving into a dorm on the campus of the college you will be attending. For me, this was not the case.

My senior year, when I was applying to schools, I knew that I wanted to commute to school, continue to live at home, and to get a job. Nearly everyone I told this to could not understand why I would not want to go away to school and get the full “college experience.” They thought that by living at home, I would be missing out on a crucial part of the next chapter of my life, and that I would end up regretting it. Now, almost being at the end of my sophomore year of college, I can say without a doubt that making this decision has not at all hindered my experience at college.

Personally, I think the idea that the “college experience” is incomplete if you do not live away is not true at all . Obviously, by not living on campus, it can be harder to get to know everyone, make friends, and to really become connected around your school; however, it is not impossible. As long as you make an effort to get involved, it will seem no different if you live on campus, or if you do not. Some people may think that doing this is difficult, but it can be as simple as joining a club, going to various activities your school offers, or even just hanging out with people between or after your classes instead of going home. Before you know it, you will be spending so much time on campus and taking part in so many events, that you will wonder why you were even worried about not feeling that you were a part of your school community in the first place.

In addition, staying home for college has many benefits that living on campus does not always allow for. By living at home, not only are you saving money by not having to pay for room and board, as well as other necessities such as a meal plan, but you also have the chance to have a job year round, so you can make extra money on top of it. I also like the idea of being able to spend as much time as I want to at school, but always being able to go home at night, sleep in my own bed, and eat home-cooked food. Not everyone might agree with this, but for me, splitting my time between home, school, and work is my best way to do things, and I would not want it any other way.

In no way do I think that living away at college is a bad decision, I just do not feel that it is for everyone, and it should not be assumed to be the only way to get a full “college experience.” It is all about the way that one approaches the situation. If one person lives on campus, and one does not, the one that lives there could not be involved at all, and not have a good experience, while the other that commutes could consider college the best years of their lives so far. Everyone’s college experience is different, and you can still reap the full benefits of college life while living at home, and not on campus.