by Guest Blogger Kelsey Bradshaw
Having completed one year living in the dorms at University of Oregon, I can say that it was one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had. I got the full on-campus experience: I made lots of new friends, I used and abused my campus meal plan, and I laid out on the campus lawns to enjoy some springtime sunshine.
There are things I will absolutely miss about living in the dorms. I’ll miss coming back to the dorms after a night out and having a delicious, greasy grilled cheese sandwich paid for with a single swipe of my student ID. I never even had to touch a pan or lift a Visa.
However, there was much more to the dorms than just the food. The dorms are where I made my first college friends. Almost all of the my hallmates and I were great friends, because not only did we live together, we all experienced our first year of college together. There was no better bonding than comparing the loads of homework we had and if the hot guy in our psychology class had a girlfriend or not (what does the fact that they sit together every Tuesday mean?!). Anytime I needed to talkI could stick my head out the door and call out to my best friends who were only two doors down.
Another great thing about the dorms is the proximity to the gym. If I was motivated enough to go to the gym, it was only ten minutes away . My classes were only a ten minute walk away too! No bike rides to campus, no searching for parking. For an 8am class, being able to roll out of bed at 7:58am and still make it (mostly) on time to class is a wonderful perk.
However, for all of the great things dorms have to offer, they do have some drawbacks. Even though your best friends were only down the hall, so were the girls you couldn’t stand. Not to mention, even if you and your roommate were the peanut butter to each others’ jelly, sharing a 10ft by10ft box had the potential to create tension from time to time. And with a room that small, having private time or a significant other was typically out of the picture.
The final kicker against living in the dorms? Communal showers and shower shoes.
Of course, having a shower all to yourself is not the only perk to off-campus living. Depending on the college you attend and the cost of living in that area, living off campus and buying your own food can actually be less expensive than living on-campus. Plus, you can make whatever food you want to eat whenever you want it. The on-campus food rarely changed so the options were limited.
Another advantage of off-campus living is having your own space and privacy. You’re not sharing a small room, you’re simply sharing the communal areas of a house or apartment. Instead of living, eating, sleeping, and going to school at the same place, you get to explore your wonderful college town and actually get off campus.
Overall, they both have their advantages and disadvantages. On-campus living is something I think everyone should try at least once, as it’s a great way to meet people, but once you’ve got that experience, off-campus living is a great lifestyle choice as well.