Are you a dorm devotee, or will you be keeping your distance by living off campus? Everybody has different housing preferences, and recently with the status of our economy, the declining population of dorm dwellers at Parkside is no surprise. Every semester, many students have to ask themselves if saving money by living off campus is worth sacrificing the experience of dorm life.
There is certainly an experience to have, but it comes with a price tag. Why else would so many movies reference the college dorm room environment? It exists, and it’s real. There is something magical about staying up at 4 a.m. with a group of strangers and watching them turn into your best friends. However, what you have to consider is that another significant purpose of on-campus living exists that isn’t catered to by media. Are you there for a suggested experience, or are you going there to complete your education?
While the close proximity that the dorms have to classrooms is most appealing to an aspiring scholar, some feel that the distractions they promote to students outweigh the location aspect.
“I think dorms are more distracting to my education than they are beneficial because of all the activities. There’s so much to do so it’s easy to push aside your studies,” said freshman Leah Bauer.
However, some feel that if you can manage living on your own, or at least in a place where you have your own space is better than the toll on your sleep, study, and sanity that living with your family has on a teen.
“Living on campus is better because I only have to deal with my own problems and not family problems. I’m just responsible for myself and no one else,” explained freshman Brittany Pawlicki.
Not all on-campus students have the ease of mere self-responsibility. Resident Advisors are constantly on watch, assuring that the policies of the dormitory are enforced. They also have sacrificed weeks of their breaks building leadership skills to prepare for the interactions they will have with the residents and amongst the RA’s themselves. In return, Parkside offers Resident Advisors a free room in their designated section of authority and a free meal plan.
“The responsibility I have as an RA isn’t just worth a free room, it’s worth more. I’ve met different people. My job has opened doors and opportunities for me I’d never have otherwise had. It’s not easy though because sometimes we’re up late when we have tests in the morning – it’s exhausting,” explained Junior Erin Ryan.
For the rest of the residents that are paying the full cost of living on campus, the question of whether or not the price is worth the 10-minute walks from our beds to class is worth it. While Ranger Hall has a lot to offer, it’s also lacking in some aspects that other UW campuses are not,
“No, I don’t think what we pay is worth staying here. In the dorms at UW-Whitewater and UW-Milwaukee, everyone who enters the dorms is carded, RA’s make you register guests, and you are limited to three. Anyone can get into Parkside’s dorms by knocking. I don’t like how some random guy could be in the hall while I’m heading to the bathroom,” explains Junior Jasmine Anderson.
With the negatives, there are surely positives of the dorm life experience, and this is the social life. Unlike commuters, dorm residents get frequent interaction with their peers all hours of the day. Whether it’s brushing your teeth next to that guy who sits behind you in Biology, running in the basement weight room with that girl who makes your grande latte at Starbucks, or simply leaving your dorm door open to see who stumbles inside, everyone is sure to find opportunities to make friends with familiar faces.
“Since there’s a lot of people that live here you see lot of faces, and after a while the usually nod turns into getting to know each other. Seeing them at resident events helps a lot too,” said junior Robert Bhatia.
“I really like socializing here and making friends. I definitely wouldn’t have as many if I didn’t live in the dorms,” said freshman Victoria Musial.
Another classic college experience students get living on campus at Parkside is having a roommate. While media often portray the experience as either wildly fun and entertaining (American Pie 2) or incredibly horrid (The Roommate), in reality, it’s a life lesson about selflessness and compromise. While some welcome the challenge, others could hardly stand it.
“Having a roommate gives you someone to talk to and the comfort of having at least one friend. It’s someone to just hang out with, to go get food with. Not having one is lonely,” said junior Sarah Nicewander.
“My roommates been really good. No problems. Just roommates and that’s it, and that’s how it’s supposed to be,” said freshman Aron Yohannes
“Well first of all, I has weird habits and she did too. We didn’t agree, there was no middle ground between us because she wanted it her wa and I wanted it my way. It was always awkward tension,” Janiyah Burney.
Since you’ve lived at home already, I’d encourage you to experience the residence hall lifestyle at UW-P. See how you like it. If you do, it may result in a much more convenient education, and while you’re there you may just find your roommate who was meant to be lifelong best friends with you. If you don’t enjoy it, then you can always move back home or move into an apartment off campus with your friends. You never know how terrible or awesome it’s going be until you try it. It’s one of those college experiences worth trying for both the positives and negatives. While the expense of a dormitory on top of tuition payments is difficult on all of us, some experiences of growing up are priceless.
Article by Nicole Zizich