Three University of Arizona students have had a somewhat unique experience during their time at the university: living in the dorms every year.
Ben Stewart, a fifth-year student in the architecture department, has been a resident assistant for his last four years at the UA and lived in the dorms his first year with a roommate.
He spent his first year in Coconino Residence Hall, second and third years in Gila Residence Hall, fourth year in Navajo-Pinal Residence Hall and his fifth and final year in Coronado Residence Hall. Stewart said being an RA is something he really enjoyed doing that brought him back to the dorms each year. He also said dorm-living is very convenient.
“It’s nice to not have to worry about paying for an apartment or having to transport to and from an apartment every day,” Stewart said.
Stewart said he gets a sense of community when living in the dorms because there are always people there. He also said his experience taught him more about how the university functions.
“It’s definitely made me feel closer and more connected to the entirety of campus,” Stewart said.
Stewart has made a lot of meaningful connections with his residents and other RA staff members, he said. Being older than the students he is an RA for, he said he’s often seen as a resource for his residents and tries to provide the best advice.
“I’ve definitely had a lot of really positive conversations with people,” Stewart said.
Lucette Peralta, a senior marketing and management major, has lived in the dorms all four years and has been an RA for the past three. She spent her freshman year in Yuma Residence Hall and the following three years in Villa del Puente Residence Hall.
Peralta said without the RA position, she wouldn’t still be living in the dorms.
“The compensation made school really affordable,” Peralta said. “It’s nice to be centrally located without having to pay for it.”
Peralta said she thought being an RA would be a great opportunity to help students adjust to college as well as provide a resource and friendly face to any students who need it.
She has mixed feelings on her time in the dorms, however. Overall, Peralta said she’s enjoyed her experience but wishes she had taken the chance to live somewhere else. She said living in the dorms has somewhat limited her ability to live in the “adult world,” because she has never had to do things such as pay bills.
Peralta also said having to be on the job all the time can be draining and she’s looking forward to having a bit more time for herself.
“It is difficult to live where you work,” Peralta said. “It’s definitely made me ready to have my own space.”
Ale Hinojosa, a senior physiology major, said she enjoys being so close to everything on campus, as she can quickly get to her classes and her jobs.
“It’s a lot easier for me to pick up shifts and stuff like that because I’m right here,” Hinojosa said. “I think that’s one of the main reasons, is how convenient it is, that I love living on campus and that I’ve continued to want to.”
Hinojosa lived in Arizona-Sonora Residence Hall her freshman year, Colonia de la Paz Residence Hall her sophomore year and Pueblo de la Cienega Residence Hall for her last two years. She’s been an RA for three years.
Hinojosa said she’s really enjoyed her experience because each year she’s met a new group of residents and connected with them. She said she also enjoys having a room to herself.
“I’m able to have that social aspect without it always being in my life,” Hinojosa said. “I think if I lived in the dorms and I always had a roommate that I might feel different about the situation.”
Hinojosa is joining the Peace Corps after graduation and will be living with a family, so she said her dorm experience prepared her for that future living situation.
Hinojosa, Peralta and Stewart all said living in the dorms has been a very unique, memorable and overall positive experience, though they said they are ready to experience a different type of living situation.
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