Entering college marks the beginning of a new, distinctive chapter in the life of a student. The prospect of partaking in a college environment is exciting. Along with it comes the excitement of choosing the type of living arrangement that is most suitable. Out of the many options available, I would list three of them: renting a single apartment, living in the dormitory, and living at home.
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Living in a single apartment has many benefits. The rent is much lower than dormitory charges. Educational growth is fostered by privacy for studying and exclusive access to the Internet for assistance. Comfort is ensured with a larger living area having its own bathroom, living room, dining room, and kitchen. The apartment complex provides entertainment such as football nights, dancing, and karaoke; personal entertainment (stereo, television, video) can be had without anyone’s interference. Yard space can be used to entertain friends; friends are not hard to find if the apartment is in a location where many students live. Meals of one’s own choice could be had. It is possible to indulge in hobbies like keeping a pet or growing flowers and vegetables in the yard. The greatest benefit is dealing with real-world issues like dollar-consciousness, paying bills and rent on time, buying groceries, cooking food, and learning about household budgeting. The first drawback is dealing with traffic snarls and long commuting time to college. Educational growth is hampered by the absence of live-in, trained staff otherwise available in dormitories. Many hours are wasted in shopping, cooking meals, and cleaning. The student is isolated from family and the larger group of college friends. The ultimate financial outlay is substantial – installing landline/DSL line and utilities, acquiring furniture, equipment, and kitchen utensils; first/last month’s rent has to be paid, with security and clearing deposits; summer months’ rent must either be paid, or someone found to sublet the apartment in summer.
The greatest benefit of living in a dormitory is the stimulation of educational growth involving easy access to classes, longer browsing time in the library, greater and closer contact with faculty staff, and assistance from trained live-in staff. Internet facility is available in dormitory rooms. College attendance is optimum due to very close proximity to classes and no time lost in commuting. By opting to live in a residence hall with kitchen facilities, time otherwise spent on shopping for groceries and cooking meals is saved. Physical fitness is assured by easy access to college athletic facilities. Financial benefits include no payment towards room furnishing/facilities/maintenance/repair, summer months’ rent, or for a roommate’s room fees if he/she moves out. Personal safety is optimum due to 24 hours security and free escort to/from campus buildings. Entertainment is provided from mingling with many in-campus friends daily and participating in social functions on campus (dorms are traditionally plastered with fliers about parties). A very significant advantage is getting to know different people and appreciating diverse lifestyles. The greatest drawback is lack of privacy caused by sharing a small room with a roommate, adjusting to the roommate’s lifestyle, inconvenience of sharing community bathrooms in non-suite rooms and noisy residence halls. A dormitory is not conducive to learning – there is noise pollution, doors are always open, and friends, as well as roommate friends, keep coming at all times. Food is restricted to whatever is provided; there is also constant worry about cafeteria closing time. The comfort and security provided by the family are lost.
Every human being traditionally resists change. Living at home while attending college ensures the student continues living in a familiar environment involving family, relatives, and childhood friends. The family continues to provide safety, security, and all living comforts. Favorite meals are always available. Living a separate room with Internet facility facilitates studying without noise or distraction; there is more studying time as student needs not to engage in chores like shopping and cooking. Access to familiar neighborhood entertainment venues is assured; also, social networking Web sites like Facebook help maintain a connection with the college social scene. The greatest drawback is the lack of freedom and independence; the student misses out on the first-hand experience in handling real-world issues like setting up and maintaining an apartment and household budgeting. Time is wasted in traffic snarls and long commuting routes to college. While assured of childhood friends in the neighborhood, friendship with college friends is difficult to foster in the absence of mingling with friends within the dormitory or inviting them over to one’s separate living apartment.
In my opinion, living in a dormitory is better than living at home mainly due to the independence factor coupled with the opportunity to make new friends and appreciate diverse cultures. However, living in a single apartment is the best because it is not only independent but also enjoys much more freedom as compared to dorm life. Most of all, the student has to deal with real-world issues – a very important, first-hand experience that will be of immense help to the student to fend for himself/herself in the real world – the next new, distinctive chapter in the student’s life.