By Tiffany Woods
Anyone who’s lived in Webster University’s housing knows it’s not exactly an “Animal House” experience. The small size of Webster does not lend itself to the college life of a large state university. Even so, living with other people your age in large numbers is an invaluable life experience, one that really only happens when you’re in college.
Living with students your own age means making and spending time with friends is easier and more natural. For many who have lived their entire lives with parents and other family members, it’s a welcome and liberating change.
The benefit of Webster housings small size is that it is an extremely short distance to visit anyone else on campus.
In fact, living away from home with fellow students is an essential part of the college experience, one that kick-starts the whole “growing-up” process.
Although living on a college campus isn’t exactly making it on your own, it grants much more independence and responsibility than living at home.
More than almost anything else, college provides a relatively safe way to get out into the world and learn how to solve your own problems, and students who live on campus get a head-start at this.
Involvement on campus also becomes much easier when you make your home in the middle of it. Not only is making time with friends infinitely easier, but attending events and activities is more convenient.
Choosing to become involved in clubs and organizations, going to sporting events or snagging free food are all a simple matter of walking across campus for those who wants to be involved with the going-ons of the university.
What’s more, there is something to be said for only being a few minutes’ walk from classes. The ability to wake up 10 minutes before a class starts and still arrive on time is a convenience almost worth the steep housing fees. But of course, those fees are rather high. And so despite the benefits to living on campus, it is not a choice that is fiscally responsible for many students.
Living away from the rules and restrictions of campus housing can also make students feel more independent.
Being a commuter certainly has its own benefits as well. In addition to more affordable living conditions, often with more space and privacy than in a dorm, the chance to relax and unwind far away from where you attend class and work an on-campus job can be appealing.
The downside is being away from school when there is something going on, or missing out on an event because it’s just not worth the drive. Students who don’t live in dorms their freshman year may also feel like they’re missing out on the social life in the dorms, or that it’s harder to be involved and make friends.
So frankly, I don’t feel that one is better than the other in most regards.
Whether living on campus or off campus, each situation has its benefits and pitfalls.
But, when it comes to being involved on campus, it doesn’t depend on the housing so much as the student.
You can live on campus but never leave your room, or be a commuter who’s always around and is incredibly involved.
As easy as living on campus can make things, you don’t have to miss out on anything if you commute.
Having lived both in campus dorms and as a commuter off-campus, I can say that no matter what your living situation, what you get out of your college experience is equal to what you put into it.