January 19, 2010 : Angelica Atkins
It is much easier to connect with friends and student life. Concerts, games and other events are within walking distance. Brother/sister dorms, prayer groups, roommates and hall mates help even the most shy person burst into a social butterfly.
Food is never an issue with meal plans and dining facilities all over campus. It is easier to get to class on time when you don’t have to try and find a parking space or battle with traffic. Also, not having a commute gives you extra time to do whatever you do.
For the serious sleeper or studier, living on campus can be trying. There are quiet study areas around campus but it is next to impossible to study in the comfort of your own room without interruptions and distractions. And if you like to get the recommended eight hours of sleep per night, I suggest ear plugs.
Also, if you don’t have a car, errands and going out can be difficult. It can be easy to find yourself stuck in the campus bubble if you don’t make an effort to ride the buses and get rides off campus. Finally, you have more rules like curfew, hall meeting and room checks on campus. While these things can help develop character and good habits, they can feel restrictive.
The biggest perk of living off-campus is being in charge of your own space, your own comings and goings. You can decorate how you like, eat what you want, sleep whenever you like and study however you like. You can invite people (including the opposite gender) over for a real sit-down dinner. There is no curfew. You can burn candles. You don’t have to clean your room every other day. You can develop cooking skills. You can choose who you live with.
While an apartment can cost less than a residence hall, initial set-up is expensive. Furniture, a vehicle or the bus system, fuel, garbage and recycling, groceries, cooking, errands and bills are costly and/or time-consuming. It is harder to stay connected to campus events and friends. You have to make an effort and plans to get together with people. There is also less accountability without prayer groups and student leadership. It is much easier to let things like cleaning and your prayer life go when you are by yourself.
Parking and traffic are probably the worst things about living off campus. They make you late, irritable and tense. It also costs a lot to purchase, register and maintain a vehicle.