On-campus life vs. Off-campus life

By Jessica Hagerty
September 22, 2006

Many students find living on campus to be a difficult task to take part in. However, I believe this experience is more convenient and is the most important chapter in a college student’s career.

As an incoming freshman in the fall of 2005 I was very anxious about living on campus with unfamiliar people. I was not one to choose to go to a college with a friend from high school nor did I want to commute from home. This is because I wanted to have the full experience of meeting new people.

Living on campus is by far the best way to meet people in college. Since Cabrini is a small school by the first couple weeks you can basically name everyone in your hall.

Commuters have a hard time meeting many people in college because they just come and go for classes. Although some classes may help you make friends with your peers, most professors disapprove of speaking in class making, it almost impossible to get to know someone.

As a resident you have a lot of time to converse with the people you live with. I also believe that some of the people in your hall or quad during your first year will remain your close friends throughout college.

Living with many different people is also a great way to learn diversity first hand.

Your dorm-mates who come from different backgrounds can help you understand customs different from your own.

Students who live on campus are also more likely to be involved in extracurricular activities through Cabrini. As a member of the swim team I find myself to be more likely to attend our 6 a.m. practices. That would be hard if I had to get in my car and drive 15 minutes to get on campus.

This also goes along with classes. I greatly enjoy being able to wake up only 20 minutes before my class starts and be able to make it on time.

Commuters also have to fuss over weather conditions. Who really wants to get up earlier in the morning to scrape ice off her windshield? Residents just bundle up and walk the short distant to class. Bad weather may also result in longer travel time and absence from classes if they are not cancelled.

Regardless, if classes are cancelled due to bad weather being stuck inside with all your friends is a lot better than being stuck with your parents if you live at home. Snow days are a remarkably fun time as a resident.

On-campus fun is described in different ways by students. The most popular would obviously be drinking on the typical Thursday nights. In this case residents on campus have public safety on their backs but off-campus students have to deal with the police.

Also, getting written up by a public safety officer is less severe than getting in trouble with the law. Students who are of age are safer if they drink on campus where they can walk around as opposed to drunk driving off campus.

Living on campus is a safer way to live away from home and a place to gain responsibility without your parents. College life gives you many freedoms and opportunities so take advantage and try living on campus if you have not already.

Going away to college is supposed to be the liberating experience of early adulthood. What you quickly find out is you can not be as wild as you want to be. But you are being asked to be more responsible than you feel. Now you have to go to classes on your own and the last legit reason not to go to class snow days are rudely taken from you.

Me personally, I love snow days. They remind me of childish times and irresponsibility. But the best you can hope for is a blizzard akin to ’96 where some of us didn’t see the inside of a classroom for a week. Let me ask you what can be there for you all day everyday? The absence of a residential establishment forced to regulate your alcoholic consumption. As the rules stand each 21year old can only be in possession of a limited amount of alcohol on campus. Off campus the amount you choose to have in your residence is based on preference. If you do want to go crazy and have a wild party with multiple cases, bring more than one person to the distributor with you. There is a limit to what one person can carry out the place. If you can not find someone, be prepared to make multiple trips. Now in no way do I advocate underage drinking. Societal rules must be followed. Also be aware campus security is a pussy cat compared to Johnny Law when it comes to hosting a party with underage drinkers. There is no sage advice to save you from that situation.

When (not if) that crazy party does take place remember to notify neighbors if you do not feel like inviting them. Keep in mind you are living in a community. They share less commonality with you. Just have respect and extend them courtesy from time to time. Often times you will find that crazy neighbor is the guy you crack beers with after work while watching the Simpsons. Do not be afraid to say more than “Hey what’s up.”

I could not in good conscience end this without my opinion on Cops vs. Campus Security. It may come as a shock, but I have not had a bad run in with my local constabulary. At other schools I have frequented their security agents take pride in how many students they catch in a week. As long as you do what you do in the privacy of your own home you have nothing to fear from authoritative knocks at your front checking up on you. So a loud party as long as you respect your neighbors will remain relatively uninterrupted.

Now life on the outside is not all fun and games. As our friendly neighborhood Spider tells us “With great power comes greater responsibility.” Now it’s easier to find ways not to go to class. Everyday can become a snow day. The hardest part about being responsible is being responsible.

Yes there is more than just drinking when living of campus, but on a weekend in September when you have Notre Dame vs. Penn State, Ohio State vs. Texas the Eagles season opener and a keg in a wheelbarrow of ice sitting in your buddy’s backyard the other reasons blur together.

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Jessica Hagerty

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