It’s that time of year again when students frantically look to secure off campus housing for the following school year. If you don’t have a plan yet, this can often be a stressful time, especially so early into the year when housing for the following school year seems like a lifetime away.
A student’s first-year is an especially stressful time for finding housing. You’ve typically moved to a new place, with people you have never met. Only a few months after you’ve moved in and are barely starting to get settled into living on campus, people start asking you what your plans are for living off campus next year.
62% of the University of Maine student population lives off campus, so it makes sense that first-years may feel pressure from upperclassmen friends to tell them where to live the following year.
Now, I completely understand the desire to live off campus, especially when all your friends are doing it. Becoming independent, having a place that feels like your own is a special feeling and first-years want to experience this. But there is also plenty of time in your life to experience independence as well.
That’s why I want to also express the positives of staying on campus, at least for your second-year. As everyone knows, a year goes by fast in college, especially during your first-year. You’re discovering new things, meeting new people and getting used to life away from your family. When all of these new experiences are happening, it’s difficult to find and appreciate the joy in the small things.
Living on campus allows you to meet friends at the dining hall, to walk from your dorm to the library and the general accessibility of having everything in one central location. Not having to rely on a car for events like sporting games or not having to find parking for classes are all unique perks that campus living provides to students.
A big convenience that living on campus provides is the ability to walk everywhere. For commuters, parking can be difficult and often the only place to get guaranteed parking on campus is in the Belgrade or CCA lots. But not only is parking a hassle on campus, traffic coming from the off campus apartment complexes sometimes leaves students waiting over thirty minutes to even get out of the complex and onto campus.
The accessibility of living on campus also makes it easier to become and stay involved within campus life and build community. UMaine puts on a variety of campus sponsored events and has numerous clubs and intramural sports. All of these activities help take stress away from school and work and allow you to meet new people and try something new. Although all UMaine students are welcome to join these activities, including commuters, the accessibility of walking to these events makes joining and continuing to go easier.
Although there are positives and negatives to living on campus and off, it’s important to put less pressure on students to move off campus and to lessen any worry that arises from the students who feel like everyone they know is moving off campus. Living on campus gets a bad reputation and it’s important to acknowledge the accessibility, convenience and community of living on campus.