Opinion: The Woes of Living Off-Campus

Julena Allen

Julena Allen

The suffocating, sticky, night air clung to me as I pedaled my bicycle through the dimly-lit Keene streets. I bit down on my lip to ignore the throbbing pain that started to pound against my leg as I headed uphill on the poorly constructed road that led to my house. Sweat beads began to form on my temples and on my back and I tried in vain to find my rhythm. The humidity of Texas did nothing to avail my current situation. “This would be so much easier if I had a car,” I muttered sourly to myself, “or if I never left the dorm.” Shaking my head, I tried to erase the negative thoughts from my mind; after all, I had gain so much living off campus, right?

It’s a common belief that off-campus students have more advantages than students who are confined to living on-campus. This well-circulated opinion has made many on-campus students jealous of their off-campus peers. This opinion, however, is one I have to disagree with. Having had the opportunity to experience both on-campus life and off-campus life, I’ve seen that both have their perks and downfalls. But I think that off-campus students who don’t have the convenience to live with immediate family members and have to pay for rent, utilities and their own food are at a slight disadvantage. While living off-campus may lower your tuition by a couple thousand dollars a semester, the other things that you have to pay for to compensate can seem a little bit more depressing. Besides pay, however, there are many reasons why living off-campus isn’t as glamorous as it seems.

First, on-campus students have the immediate advantage of living on the campus of the school they go to. Waking up in the morning with the ability to sleep for an extra five minutes isn’t available to their off-campus peers. Off-campus students have to factor in the distance they live away from school, the mode of transportation that takes them there and the food they have to prepare before they leave. This amount of planning can easily cut thirty minutes to an hour out of one’s sleep.

Secondly, on-campus students have the ability to walk to the cafeteria and have food made for them three times a day. Whether they like the food or not, the food is still there; off-campus students, however, have to buy food and if they don’t make their own meals, then they won’t have anything to eat for that day. Resources like Rusty Bucket and cafeteria food aren’t theirs to enjoy if they choose not to be on the school’s meal plan, which, if they were living off campus to cut expenses they probably didn’t include.

Lastly, getting involved in campus events and feeling like one is a part of the school body is a bit more challenging for off-campus students. If one lives on campus they have immediate access to their friends. They can just walk up and down their hallway or meet up someplace on campus to see them. That luxury isn’t granted to the student who lives away from school. This can create a challenge for them in making friends with the people they go to school with because they can’t stay on-campus long enough to meet new people and surround themselves with the people they prefer to hang out with. The activities that happen around the school are lost to the students that live too far away because they can’t afford to travel on and off campus constantly. Consequently, they aren’t able to join in on some of the things that makes going to college worthwhile. As a result, some off-campus students are left with the feeling that they aren’t really a part of their university, just a body in it.

All in all, the experience of an off-campus student varies depending on the type of situation he/she finds themselves in, but I think that on campus students in general have it easier. Though they may pay a little more in tuition, the conveniences and opportunities they get in return are well worth it. The only thing they really have to stress about is paying for their tuition and doing well in school. This, is why I think living on campus is, in some ways, way better than living off it.

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