College Students’ Living Arrangements

In the modern workforce of today, college degree holders have a definite edge as the scope of jobs available to them is larger and the salary/perks are higher. The prospect of partaking in a college environment is exciting as it spawns a new distinctive chapter in the life of a student. Not only is it the stepping stone into the competitive workforce, but along with it also comes the excitement of choosing the type of living arrangement that is most suitable. Out of the many alternatives possible, 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 advantages. The rent is much lower than dormitory fees. Educational growth is boosted by privacy for studying and exclusive access to the Internet for assistance. Comfort is assured with a larger living area comprising own bathroom, living room, dining room, and kitchen. Apartment complexes usually provide interesting entertainment like football nights, dancing, and karaoke; personal entertainment (stereo, television, DVD) can be accessed without interference. Yard space can be employed to entertain – friends are easy to find if the apartment is in a student-congested area. Meals of one’s own liking could be had. One can indulge in hobbies like keeping pets or growing flowers in the yard. The greatest advantage is tackling real-world issues like dollar-consciousness, settling bills and rent on time, purchasing groceries, cooking food, and learning about household budgeting. The first disadvantage is coping with traffic snarls and lengthy commuting time to college. Educational growth is constrained by the absence of live-in, trained staff otherwise available in dormitories. Valuable time is wasted in shopping, cooking meals, and cleaning. Students are cut off from family and the larger group of college friends. Overall expenditure is quite high, involving installation of landline/DSL line and utilities, purchase of furniture, equipment, and kitchen utensils; payment of first/last month’s rent with security and clearing deposits; summer months’ rent must either be settled in advance or someone found to sublet the apartment in summer.

The greatest advantage of living in a dormitory is educational development including 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 usually available in dormitory rooms. By using the 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 advantages 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 got from interacting with in-campus friends daily and by taking part in social functions on campus (dorms are traditionally festooned with fliers about parties). Another advantage is meeting different people and understanding diverse lifestyles. The greatest disadvantage is lack of privacy – as one has to share a small room with a roommate – adapting to the roommate’s lifestyle, discomfort in sharing community bathrooms in non-suite rooms and noisy residence halls. A dormitory does not promote learning – there is too much noise, doors are always open and friends, as well as roommate friends, keep flitting in and out. One has to accept whatever food is provided; there is also frequent anxiety about cafeteria closing time. The comfort and security enjoyed while living at home are lost.

It is common for everyone to oppose change. Living at home while attending college enables a student to continue living in a familiar environment involving family, relatives, and childhood friends. The family keeps on providing safety, security, and all living comforts. Favored meals are always provided. Living in a separate room with an Internet facility helps the student to study without noise or distraction; there is more studying time as the student needs, not shop or cook. Students can continue visiting familiar neighborhood entertainment venues; also, social networking Web sites like Facebook helps students keep tabs on the college social scene. The greatest disadvantage is that there is no freedom and independence; the student cannot have first-hand experience in tackling real-world issues like setting up an apartment and household budgeting. Valuable time is lost in traffic snarls and lengthy commuting roads to college. Friendship with college friends is difficult due to the inability to mingle with friends within the dormitory or inviting them over to one’s separate living apartment.

In my opinion, living in a dormitory is preferable to living at home largely on account of the independence factor, chance to make new friends and appreciate diverse cultures. Nevertheless, living in a single apartment is the best because is not only independent but also involves greater freedom than dorm life. Most of all, the student has to handle real-world issues – a crucial, first-hand experience that greatly assists the student to fend for himself/herself in the real world – the next new, distinctive chapter in the student’s life.

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