My name is Patrick Marion and I am currently a graduate student at Oakland University in Rochester, MI. I completed my Bachelors in 2012 with a degree in Communication and I am currently finishing up my Master’s of Communication with an emphasis in Media Studies, Interpersonal and Cultural areas. I have worked for Oakland’s University Housing for over six years and lived on campus for five.
Moving away from home can be either the scariest or most exciting moment of your life. Living on your own for the first time in an entirely new place can be a bit overwhelming for some, but it is an experience worth having. Commuting from home is often cheaper and more practical for some students, but they miss out on the opportunity to live on their own terms. Living on campus lets you decide how you are going to structure your life. All of the decisions are made by you. There is no curfew set in stone, no one to tell you to eat your vegetables at dinner, and most importantly, no one to wake you up for that 8am class. You can stay up until 5am playing video games with your floor mates or build a blanket fort in your lobby, let your imagination run wild.
Being 18 at college means everyone treats you like an adult. You are essentially thrown right into this ring of chaos with thousands of other students and expected to figure it out yourself. Part of growing up is realizing that not everyone has it all figured out. Life is a constant stream of just winging it and going with the flow. Your ability to adjust to these situations and learn from them is one of the most valuable experiences life has to offer.
Universities offer several services to students who are in need of guidance as well. Anything from counseling to tutoring, universities are designed to help students in every facet of their college career. One of the biggest problems new students face is not knowing where or who to turn to when they need help. If you are having difficulties adjusting to being on your own, your resident assistant (RA) is there to help make the transition easier. RA’s are trained to be a resource for you and your floor in times of conflict and advice so make sure you take advantage of what they have to offer. RA’s are a great tool to help you get acquainted with college, but most of your time will be spent figuring these things out on your own.
The communities that on-campus housing offer are incredibly unique. There are few other places which thrive on a community centered living. You can live with your best friend or a complete stranger, either one is equally exciting. On your floor lies a multitude of people experiencing the same thing you are for the first time. The people you can meet are from all walks of life. There is a mesh of cultures and traditions happening around every corner. These are the people you will be living with for the next 8 months. The opportunities are endless when you know you are living 25 feet away from someone who could end up being your best friend.
There is a saying going around that says, “The friends you make in college will be the friends you will have for the rest of your life.” There is something truthful to that statement. These are the friends who will be along for every adventure on arguably the most exciting times of your life. When faced with the choice of deciding whether or not to save money and live at home or take that first step towards your own personal independence; the decision seems obvious.