Maria Fischer discusses the benefits of on-campus housins.
As I waited in line at the Front Room, I overheard a conversation between two underclassmen.
“I can’t wait to move out of the dorms,” I heard them say.
Fed up with their strict RA and tight living space, both girls anticipated off-campus living would be much better.
“Too bad we have to live in the dorms another year, though,” one said as they left with their coffee.
As I left the Front Room and started my trek across campus, I wondered: what’s the rush? Though the endless rules and room checks can be tedious, Ohio University got it right when they decided to require students to live in the dorms for a full two years.
According to the OU residential housing policy, all students under the age of 23, with fewer than four semesters lived in the residence halls, must reside in university-owned housing and participate in the associated mandatory meal plan. Exemptions are made when students in a recognized fraternity or sorority opt to live in Greek housing, but they still must have already completed one academic year in the dorms.
Compare those requirements with Ohio State’s policy that allows students who have earned a sophomore class ranking to move out of the residence halls. Or compare them to a school with even a more lenient policy: Fordham University, my former college, doesn’t require time spent in residential housing at all. Students can live off-campus all four years if desired.
But unlike the OU freshmen I overheard in the Front Room, students at Fordham jump at the opportunity to dorm. With the stress that comes along with apartment hunting and the convenience of living close to academic buildings, Fordham students view residential life as a luxury — there’s even a wait-list made up of students in all grade levels trying to get a spot in the dorms.
But even I can admit that when I transferred to OU, it was a bit off-putting to hear I had to finish out my sophomore year in the dorms. After dorming for more than a year at Fordham, I was ready to finally live on my own. Looking back though, I realize how important it was to spend a full two years in the dorms.
Dorm life eases students into becoming independent. Students are responsible for maintaining a clean space, but still have two years to learn how to manage money, pay bills and solve everyday problems on their own.
But perhaps the most irreplaceable aspect of living in the dorms is the opportunity to meet so many new people. There will be few times in your life where you will live in an entire building made up of people of the same age, lifestyle and mindset. Due to the “closed off” nature of the apartment building set-up, off-campus life doesn’t facilitate that same kind of social atmosphere.
With the headache of home-hunting already in full gear for returning upperclassmen, I hope underclassmen enjoy the easiness of the dorm life while they still can (trust me: you will miss those swipes next year.)
Two years in the residence halls is enough, but one year is far too short.
Maria Fischer is a junior studying journalism. Email her at email@example.com.