Campus guide' 2017: Head to Head: We all have to live somewhere
Villa Del Puente, a dorm located on Highland Avenue in the historic district. Dorm life offers students a chance to meet new people going through the same growth process encountered at college.
Columnists Alec Scott and Aurora Begay go head to head to debate the best place to live as a student, on-campus or off-campus.
On-campus life offers structure and community
A college is much more than the classrooms amenities provided to the students; it’s also the culture and atmosphere that is encouraged and enjoyed by the faculty and student body alike. More than a place to be educated, it’s a place to explore life paths you didn’t entertain before, as well as discover opportunities that would otherwise not be experienced.
Dorm life offers a sense of structure and community to incoming freshmen and transfer students that off campus living does not.
The college experience allows students who wish to continue their post-high school education to do more than simply confirm and support their worldview; it instead challenges and expands that worldview by allowing for opportunities to challenge your comfort zone. You enter a world that may be as constructive as it is frightening to enter.
Often dorm life is looked down upon in favor of immediately moving off campus in pursuit of an entirely new level of liberty that living by oneself can offer — but exploring and engaging in the residential life on campus, even if for a short time, is an integral part of the college experience. Living with a roommate who you have no prior relationship with allows you to reflect not only the way people can be different, but also how well you can facilitate relationship with others.
My personal experience with campus living has made me realize just how important this step is while going through the complicated self-discovery experience that college fosters. I transferred from the University of Denver to the UA this spring semester, and the transition between school cultures was made easier by total immersion in my new environment.
Rather than feeling like a foreign element in the massive campus I found when I arrived, my residency in the historic district with people who experienced similar anxieties and confusions made me feel at home almost immediately.
Had I not lived on campus, I wouldn’t have been able to feel at home in my new school so quickly, where classes were held in buildings I could hardly spell, let alone point out on a map. I was able to find common ground based around a shared experience with those around me. I could at once feel welcome on the campus I had just weeks before felt intimidated by.
It was living on campus at my first college that made me realize it was not the right school at the time, and it was living on campus here in Arizona that convinced me I had made the right choice to switch. I could place myself in relation to the activity and culture of the university without losing my sense of self in it. This gave me the confidence to branch out and experience an entirely new world that was set right in front of me.
Dorm life opens your comfort zone wide enough to accept the differences between you and your fellow students, who may be going through the same self-doubting race to the finish line you are. As a transfer student, I was also able to see the important role of immersion in campus life on my sense of place.
Just close proximity to events at the Student Union Memorial Center inspired me to walk down and get free food, and even the subtle background information offered by fliers let me know which clubs were planning meetings or making moves to change campus life.
If living on campus can be seen as the first step of the college experience, living off campus can certainly be seen as the second — although it’s a step that must be made when you are ready — jumping prematurely from the dorms can leave the relationship between yourself and your fellow student body underdeveloped.
Where do you fit in, and why are you here? You may find it easier to answer these questions when experiencing it with those just as confused as you are, and who may have opinions and perspectives that never would have been exposed to you otherwise.
In short, I found my decision to live on campus an integral step of my college life, and I feel all the more confident for having made the jump into something at first new and frightening.
By going through it as others around tackled similar issues, I felt as if I was not just a student of the classes I was registered for, but a student of the university itself.
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Off-campus life is freedom and comfort
Figuring out where you want to live in college requires a lot of weighing the pros and cons. Should you live on campus where everyone is or should you live off campus where you can enjoy some privacy?
Although I’ve never lived on campus, I always wondered what it would be like and if I’d enjoy it. After thinking about it, I can say with certainty that off-campus living is the way for me.
Living off campus, you’re able to experience adulthood way more than you would if you lived on campus. You pay a monthly rent rather than having your dorm included in your tuition at the beginning of the semester.
Searching for an apartment can be stressful; it takes research to figure out what will fit into your college student budget, what kind of shops are around, how close it is to campus and if the neighborhood is safe — but there’s no need to get too stressed about this.
Looking for your new home can be fun. It gives you an opportunity to explore Tucson. It can help you decide what part of the city you like and where you want to be based. You can see what kind of layouts and amenities you prefer, which will help you find a new home once you graduate as well.
One of my favorite perks of living off campus is all about cooking. Instead of sharing a community kitchen with others in the dorm, you can have your own kitchen. This is a huge plus because you can shop for as much food as you need and have storage enough for all of it.
You’re also more likely to cook more homemade meals and pack lunches rather than eating out at the student union every night, helping to lower your overall costs.
If you tend towards introversion, finding an apartment a good distance away from campus can suit you. You could find yourself in a quiet neighborhood and be around a diverse community.
I live approximately six miles away from campus. Every day I interact with a variety of people, and most of them aren’t college students.
Being off campus, I’ve also been able to participate in unique community events, surrounded by crowds often with different perspectives from those of my classmates.
I think that living on campus can be limiting if all you know is what’s at the UA.
If you want to experience things outside of campus, it can be challenging because you’re knowledge of community events is more restricted to those pertaining to the college.
I think being in an apartment off campus also helps you to mature.
You live on your own and you don’t have people around holding your hand. Not only do you learn responsibility while maintaining an apartment, you also create a life for yourself. You never know, maybe you’ll live in the apartment or house even after you graduate from the UA.
Living off campus doesn’t mean you have to live far from campus. The UA Housing and Residence Life has a website that lists current apartments available for rent and room mate searches. Some popular apartment options that the site offers are Sol y Luna Apartments, NorthPointe Student Apartments, and The Ranch at Star Pass.
A huge benefit of living in a student apartment is that most of them have shuttles that will take you from the complex to campus. You don’t have to stress about finding parking and you could meet other students who live around you.
I love living off campus, and I wouldn’t change this decision because I enjoy being a good distance from the crowded dorm scene. If you enjoy some peace away from school, then living off campus is the best option for you.
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