To dorm or not to dorm
Stress levels key in housing decisions
College is full of its ups and downs and can be mentally exhausting.
The stressors students face cause the question of location to rise. Is it easier to live on campus and feel completely focused on class work, or to live off campus with fewer distractions, but more responsibilities?
Matthew Janasek, a sophomore who has experience living in the dorms but currently lives in the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house, says he has mixed feelings about living on campus.
“Sometimes, I felt the events on campus sort of helped me procrastinate instead of working on homework,” Janasek said. “I would go to different events with people from my floor, but on the other hand, living in the dorms meant that I was close to things like the library, and I was more likely to go talk to my teachers if I needed help with something.”
Some students have found that living on campus does keep them from having fewer responsibilities and stresses, while also allowing them to stay involved in daily campus activities.
That is not true for everyone, though. Lacie Worrell, senior in communication, says she likes living off campus better, and prefers having fewer distractions and pressures from her friends who want to attend campus activities all the time.
“Personally, I feel like I’m able to get more accomplished living off campus because I don’t have as many distractions, such as friends living down the hall,” Worrell said. “Now that I am off campus, I just live with one other person and I can go to my room and study if I need to.”
She remains active in the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority and has learned that balance is key when trying to rid herself of everyday college stressors. Worrell also says she has some advice for students living on campus struggling with time management and academic responsibilities.
“I would say, learn how to balance the different things in your life. Meeting friends and having fun is good to do in college, but remembering your responsibilities are also important,” Worrell said. “They go hand in hand because you are paying a lot of money to go to school here, but at the end of the day, it is nice to relax with a bunch of friends.”
Mitch Bringle, a student who has lived in the dorms and in a fraternity house but now lives off campus, says he has experienced the college stressors at both levels. His conclusion is that students pick up more responsibilities when living off campus, adding to their stress levels.
“I enjoy living off campus more, away from the dorms because you have more space and don’t have to worry about being woken up by fire alarms or getting in trouble with the RAs,” Bringle said. “But definitely living off campus has more responsibilities. I have to pay bills each month, cook my own food, learn how to grocery shop responsibly, and budget money as well as deal with on-campus parking when going to classes.”
So what is it that keeps students attending classes and learning to control the stress of college?
Bringle says that being surrounded by his friends makes campus life less stressful, unlike living in the dorms.
Keeping a steady schedule, learning to balance friendships and relationships, taking care of academic responsibilities and events with good time management are all handy tools to cope with stress.