College is amazing and living in a dorm for at least a year is essential to really getting that feel of a college experience. After one year, though, you've pretty much had enough. Dorm life really does offer some great things in your first year that you will come to appreciate once you've moved into an apartment. Here are a few of the great things both living options can offer.
Sense of community
Your hall mates can become some of your best friends and will end up knowing more about you than you thought they would in the beginning. Those late nights are really nice when everyone is stressing at the same time and you really bond over your love/hate relationship with your education.
Always know what's going on around campus
I don't know about other schools, but here at SIUE, there are signs hanging from the ceiling that would literally smack you in the face to tell you about campus events. Flyers covered bulletin boards and walls and you always knew where to be and when to be there.
You don't have to drive to campus
Having your car at school is really nice, but it's even better when you don't have to use it every day just to get to a class. There are days when you may have one class and the effort of getting in your car and wasting gas for one class that's an hour long just doesn't seem worth it.
This is probably the biggest thing that I miss. The meal plans for on-campus dwellers are so nice and I loved not having to think about spending money to eat every day.
At SIUE, you always had to swipe your student ID to get past the front desk and there were always campus police driving around or hanging out in residence halls keeping everything in order. That sense of security was one of the biggest reasons my mom loves SIUE.
You may not realize how difficult it is to share a room with someone until you get to college if you never have before. Having to share your space all the time and set agreed times for when to turn out the lights or when you need to study is really difficult. Having your own room in an apartment is so freeing.
Actual home-cooked meals
I love love love home-cooked food. My dad loves to cook and so in the dorms, I really missed that food and my ability to recreate it. Having your own kitchen to cook in is great, especially when you can do it with your roommates.
Dorm beds are terrible and that's it. A twin bed that sits ridiculously high off the ground or having bunk beds is annoying and dangerous. I can't tell you how many times I woke up in the middle of the night and realized I was about to roll off my bed. It's really nice to be back in a full sized bed in my apartment.
No rules about visitors
No one is going to tell you that there are too many people in your room or that everyone is being too loud because, at least at our place, no one really cares. You could fill these apartments with people and you won't have residence hall staff coming around to tell you that people need to leave.
This is a huge step into adulthood and responsibility and it's truly an amazing journey to take. I love being able to come back to a place that is my own and it feels good to remember to make rent payments and feel like I somewhat have my life together.
All in all, I say live in a dorm for at least a year because that's really the best way to experience college and get yourself out to activities and events. Don't take that time for granted. Apartment life is so much fun and so much better, but dorm life is a part of the whole college package that everyone who goes to school needs to experience.