Every year, thousands of students nationwide choose to live on a college campus. Students not only get to experience life in the residence halls, but also get a chance to make new friends, join campus organizations, network and really get a sense of what college is really about.
Mindy Rendon, Washburn University’s director of residential living recommends that students live on campus.
“I think for the most part living on campus is a really good experience,” said Rendon. “It helps you to get adapted to the university life, community life and there’s a higher chance that if you live on campus you’ll build a support group that’s going to help you succeed and get through the next year of college and hopefully to graduation.”
Rendon also recommends living on campus because of the accessibility to organizations and staff.
“I definitely think there are a lot of advantages including staff being there as a resource,” said Rendon. “The whole purpose of the staff that we have is just to be there to support and be a resource for students.”
Travis McGuire, a freshman from Atchison Kan., explained why he wanted to stay on campus.
“Close to my classes and I’ve heard that you get to interact with more people,” said McGuire.
Kelli Thomas, a business management major from Kansas City, Kan., decided to live on campus to save gas and because she could afford it.
“It’d be extremely hard to travel from Kansas City to Topeka every day,” said Thomas. “That and the cost of living is taken out of my financial aid so I don’t have to worry about paying monthly rent or anything like that.”
Students can benefit in a number of ways from living on campus whether it be from making new friends, forming a close bond with roommates or joining organizations.
“This is where they meet their friends, this is where they build a support group of who they’re going to talk to when things are bad or when things are good,” said Rendon. “I think the ease of just being able to be close to the organizations and being able to make those meetings and being able to roll out of bed and make it to class versus trying to get here from across town. It just makes things a little easier”
Both Thomas and McGuire that they’ve benefited from living on campus especially since they’ve formed close relationships with their roommates and suitemates.
“There’s a couple annoying things that I don’t like but basically I like all my roommates, it’s all fun and just easier to get class,” said Thomas about her first semester living on campus.
McGuire also had a positive experience with his roommates.
“It’s going really well, I have an amazing roommate,” said McGuire. “We hang out, we have a lot of fun. I’m really close with all my roommates and suitemates and we all get along really well, we’re just close.”
Thomas’s favorite part about living on campus is the close proximity to classes and the union.
“I’m living on campus because I have a five minute walk to my first class even though it’s cold, that’s not that bad of a walk and also the food is just right there,” said Thomas.
One of the hardest things students seem to have a problem with when living on campus is the fact that they live on campus, away from their family, friends and usual surroundings.
“I think it’s just a big change between after you were coming direct from high school to college then your whole life changes” said Rendon. “You no longer have family or whoever you live with around you. That’s why we strongly encourage students to make those connections, get involved and become a part of the campus community so that you feel connected.”
In the case of McGuire, living on campus hasn’t really phased him much.
“I don’t really feel homesick because I’m able to go home every weekend so I guess I’m considered lucky in that aspect,” said McGuire. “If I do ever feel homesick it’s usually when I have a bad day so I’ll probably call my parents or something but it’s never that bad.”
Thomas says her feelings of being homesick are cured by hearing her nephew talk about different cars to her on the phone.
“Sometimes I do, [get homesick] like my nephew’s birthday is tomorrow and I won’t be able to go see him, he’s turning [3-years-old],” said Thomas. “He tends to call me and just sit there and blab about cars and trucks and police cars and then he puts me on hold. Just being able to call [family] and talk to them whenever I want, I’m good with that.”
As the end of the semester approaches and everyone prepares for winter break, some students are choosing to stay in the residence halls over break. For those who do, Rendon says to follow one important step.
“Students who want to live on campus for Winter break, they just need to come to the main office in the Living Learning Center and fill out a break housing contract,” said Rendon. “The deadline was [Dec. 1, 2010] but you can still turn it in, just a little fee associated with that.”