Whether or not to live on campus was a big decision of mine, especially because I only live 20 minutes away from my college. I could commute and save money, or live on campus and get a more full college experience. However, there's a side of the argument that I hadn't thought about until I moved into college and starting sharing a suite with two girls who live too far to commute. My roommate and I, who both live locally, had options. My suite mates, who are not local, did not.
This got me thinking... what are the pros and cons to living on campus when you're local, or when your hometown is far away? Here's a list that I came up with, thanks to the help of my suite mates!
One. Is it a choice?
As stated above, when you live locally you have the option to decide whether or not to live on campus, and for how many years. For people like my suite mates, who are an hour and a half and four hours away from home, there's no choice.Yes, they had a choice in which college to attend, but once they had their hearts set on a school away from home, they knew they had to commute no matter what.
They also don't have the option of ever getting off campus housing either. Some local students will rent apartments for junior and senior year, but that means living in said apartment all year round. Out of town students aren't going to pay for off campus housing that they won't live in for four months of the year.
Two. Can you go home?
Local students have the option to go home whenever their hearts desire. Miss your dog? You can go home. Your cousin is having the family over for dinner? You can go. Your brother has a big lacrosse game? You'll be there. For students who aren't local, this is not the case. One of my suite mates did not go home during the entire semester because she lives too far away. That meant missing out on a lot of family events and time with friends who are still close to home.
Three. Will you have new adventures?
Technically the answer is yes for both local and far away students. College is full of new adventures, but for students coming to a new city, or even a new state, their adventuring is different. Out of town students get to experience a brand new place, and that can mean new food, new stores, new parks, and the list goes on and on. Local students can enjoy the fun aspects of their city, but it's most of the same things they have been enjoying their whole life.
Four. Access to groceries?
Unless you have a car on campus, if you're traveling from out of town you better stock up on all your necessities. Local students can call mom whenever they need some more toothpaste or run out of water bottles. Far away students do not have this luxury by any means.
Again, technically both local and out of town college students have freedom, but when you're from farther away, it causes you to have more independence; it's not really a choice. By not having your parents around you have to make decisions on your own, and do everything for yourself--no bringing home dirty laundry on the weekends!
Six. Do you know people?
Usually when you go to a college nearby, or in, your hometown, you tend to know people from your community or high school. When you're coming from farther away you're less likely to have people that you know going to your college, especially when you attend a smaller private school like ours!
Being local means that going into your first year, you probably know more people than someone who lives four hours away.
On the opposite end, however, is that if you know less people, you are forced to meet new people! And isn't that what college is all about?
All in all college is an exciting time that comes with great experiences, regardless of where you're from and how far you are from home!