As an incoming college student, you’ve probably heard the term “freshman experience” a million times by now. Well, think of residence halls as feeding grounds for memories and experiences you can gain outside of the college classrooms: The social atmosphere of residence halls is the most basic way to build college connections and relationships and staying on campus during freshman year is essential to receiving that crash course to how life really is on a college campus.
What Do I Get Out of It? In residence halls, you bond with others living in your shared space, you gain your independence when you remain on your own for weeks on end and you really get to integrate yourself into your school's community.
But I Miss My Mom! College is a time for new challenges and standing on your own two feet so if you’re feeling homesick, I always advise new college students to tough it out for just a little bit longer. Feel free to call Mom and Dad whenever you'd like and definitely look forward to seeing them at the next holiday but remember that you're paying for every cent that dorm room has to offer.
I Don’t Have That Kind of Money! If you can’t afford to live on campus, try to get involved in clubs and make connections in your classes. Getting to know other on-campus students will give you the opportunity to hang out with friends in the residence halls, even if it IS only as a guest. Staying involved on campus can make up for the lack of connection you’d make if you were living with your peers. If you make the effort, you won’t miss out on that traditional “freshman experience” but similar to many other aspects of college, you will get out of it what you put in it.
How Do I Determine What's Best for Me? If living at school is just too much for you to handle, maybe commuting would be a better fit for your needs...but don't give up on the dorm experience immediately! It may not be for everyone but dealing with other people in close quarters is a good skill to have for when the “real world” comes creeping around the corner.
Abby Egan is currently a junior at MCLA in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, where she is an English Communications major with a concentration in writing and a minor in philosophy. Abby hopes to find work at a publishing company after college and someday publish some of her own work. In her spare time, Abby likes to drink copious amounts of coffee, spend all her money on adorable shoes and blog into the wee hours of the night. [...]