The first year of college can be a confusing and scary time, especially when you are figuring out where to live. Choosing an off-campus apartment or a dorm is a big decision, so I've compiled 10 reasons why and why not dorm living could be right for you.
1. Pro: Becoming close with your roommate
You may be sharing a room the size of large closet, but you couldn't be happier because your roommate is also your best friend! Living in a dorm can bring you incredibly close to your roommate, as you share literally everything together. With a dorm roommate, you always have someone to talk to, always have someone to share the cleaning, and always have someone to go places with. Having a roommate always near can help both of you navigate college together, as dorms are most popular with first-year students.
2. Pro: Less cleaning
With a dorm being essentially one room, and a small one at that, you have nearly no up-keep to worry about. Without the space or multiple rooms of a house or apartment, you can trade the gigantic vacuum for a hand-held or dustpan. Most dorms also have bathrooms of their own or a shared suite-style bathroom, which you can rotate cleaning between your roommate or suite-mates.
3. Pro: Proximity to campus
Especially in your first year of university, being close to campus is important for a variety of social and academic reasons. There are so many campus-wide events like free socials and job fairs that you can easily walk to last minute if you live on campus. In addition to not missing an on-campus activity, the majority of your friends in your first year will live on or at least very near to campus as well. Academically, if you want to start off right you need to learn the campus and be on time to class. Staying on campus can give you the best ability to meet new friends and make it on time to that boring 8 a.m class.
4. Pro: Your RA can be your best friend
Having a Resident Assistant (RA) can be very helpful as they keep the dormitory safe and inform you of dormitory and campus events. They also stress that they are here for YOU! If you have any concerns or problems, RAs offer to help or get you the help you need. RAs can help make the experience of living in a dorm and being away from home more comfortable.
5. Pro: Amenities of a home included
Dorms now generally include laundry facilities and kitchenettes with all the essentials. With these essentials included within dorms it eliminates the stress of trying to find a laundromat to do laundry or hitting a roadblock cooking without a stove. Many dorms also have study spaces in case you need a change of scenery or a break from a loud roommate.
1. Con: Your roommate could not work out
Unfortunately, your roommate can become a worst nightmare rather than your bestie. Some friends can start the year off rooming together with the best intentions, but find instead that living together actually brings them farther apart. If you get assigned a random roommate, you have no idea who you are sharing your space with. Are you getting someone who will steal your clothes or take out the trash without being asked? It really is a gamble, and you are sharing this one room 24/7 with this person!
2. Con: Your privacy is near nonexistent
If you still get squeamish changing in front of others, dorm living will force you to face that fear. Thankfully, communal bathrooms and showers aren't really a thing anymore, but changing in front of your roommate and sharing a bathroom is. Ducking into the bathroom is not always an option, especially if you share the bathroom with suite-mates as well. I can still remember the days of waiting 30 plus minutes to use the bathroom because my suite-mate was showering... I don't miss it!
3. Con: Your RA could be your enemy
As much as RAs can help, they can also hurt. Some RAs just love the idea of wielding power over students, which causes them to be haughty and occasionally rude. If you feel your RA is not really there for you, it is best to meet an RA from another floor that would have more respect for students. Having a friendly and respectful RA is part of the positive dorm experience.
4.Con: Living with other students
Although your roommate might be quiet as a mouse, you can't always say the same for your neighbors in the dormitory. With each room in such close proximity, even noise that wouldn't normally be so loud can become magnified. But when it is loud, typically Thursday through Sunday, it is LOUD. If you save your studying for weekend-nights or outside noise greatly disturbs your sleep, a dormitory might not be the place for you.
5. Con: Those amenities aren't free
From my personal experience, the laundry services at a dormitory are not free. This is extremely unfair as we are already paying a heavy price to live in university housing, but it is less expensive than outside laundry services. It is also important to keep in mind that the kitchenette, washers, and dryers are all shared with your dormitory neighbors. This means if many people, all of whom weren't raised right, decide to leave food all around the kitchenette, you will have a year-long cockroach problem on your floor. All these nice amenities become ruined when the people you live with do not care for them.
I hope these 10 pros and cons of dorm living can help the decision become more clear for a successful school year.