May Kearney is a freshman at Baylor University in Texas. She is majoring in International Business with a secondary major in Business Chinese. She loves to travel, and does freelance graphic design in her spare time. You can visit her portfolio here: http://www.coroflot.com/maykearney/portfolio
Born and raised in a small college town with two professors as parents, I didn’t really have to think about where I was going for higher education. A majority of my graduating class in high school was joining me at Baylor, so I never thought about my future college. Of course that all changed when my parents gave me a choice, live at the dorms or live at home. Since we live within fifteen minutes of the campus, and the dorms are already over crowded, I decided to stay home so I could do my laundry for free and eat home cooked meals. I didn’t really think it would make much of a difference for my situation socially, and I could actually sleep in peace and quiet at night. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize the importance of dorm living and the campus experience.
Don’t get me wrong; some things about living at home are amazing. I get the shower mostly to myself in the mornings, and I have a huge room to relax in. I can set my alarm and not worry about waking any roommates up. I kept my car, so whenever my friends want to go across town we can drive there. I get a distraction-free study space on weekends, and lots of quiet time to myself. I also get to see my family everyday, even though my siblings get annoying every once and a while. Overall, I may seem like I have a pretty sweet set up.
Unfortunately, It’s the little things that start to get to you. All my friends go out and eat in the dining hall together while I can’t because I’m not on the dorm meal plan. I have to wake up extra early for classes so I could drive to school every morning, instead of tumbling out of bed and walking a couple of blocks to class. I can’t stay late at events because I can’t be too tired on my drive home. I don’t have somewhere to go between classes to relax, so I end up holing up in a study area until my next lecture starts. If I forget an assignment in my room, I can’t just run back and grab it. Once I go home after class or work, I am too tired to waste gas driving all the way back up to school for a last minute hang out with friends. I also just don’t get the full experience of having a roommate and learning to deal with living with someone else. It’s hard to make friends when you don’t have an automatic one sharing a room with you.
I know that everyone has different circumstances, but if you have the chance to live in a dorm, you should take it. It may be a little more expensive than home living, but you will gain invaluable experience about the campus itself, and the culture of your college. Learning to make and keep new friends is hard enough when your schedule is all over the place. In home versus dorm living, dorm wins every time.