Why live on campus?
I know living on campus is now required for nearly everyone for their first year at UNC, but that’s a really good thing. Whether you choose to stay on campus for one year or four years, on-campus housing really does have things that you will take with you for the rest of your life. Friends, memories, experiences, relationships.
Coming into UNC in the fall of 2007, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I found myself in Teague Residence Hall, part of Parker Community. I didn’t request to live there. It wasn’t even one of my preferences, but I didn’t really know much about living on campus, so I packed up my stuff and headed down the mountain (I’m from Boone, NC) to the Piedmont.
Move-in was exciting. My first real taste of true freedom from my parents for an extended period of time. I was excited not to have to worry about a curfew. I was excited to make my own decisions about when I would eat and when to leave for classes in the morning. But as I lived on campus, it became so much more than that.
Living on campus does have some pretty obvious perks. You are as close to the center of Carolina as you could be. No off-campus housing will get you closer, which is great. Less time to walk to class in the morning.
Next, you don’t have to go out and buy furniture and worry about moving all of that stuff. I already had enough stuff to make move-in an experience, so not worrying about furniture was really nice. Also, you don’t have to worry about paying all sorts of different bills. Your parents will tell you that paying each bill can be so tedious. Your rent, electricity, internet, water, cable, etc. are all in one payment to your student account.
Lastly, your only cleaning responsibilities are your own room! (unless you live in Manning East or West) UNC staffs wonderful housekeepers who work diligently to clean common areas, bathrooms, and kitchens. It’s not even necessary to own a vacuum, because you can check out Enhancements in your Community!
While those things are certainly valid points that encourage students to live on campus, there is more to it than just facilities, housekeeping, and proximity. It really is an experience. It’s about the people that you will live with. You never know, but your suitemate might be the best man in your wedding. It’s happened before, and it will happen again.
Your RA is an invaluable resource that can help you out when you think no one will. They let you into the building at 4 a.m. when you’ve lost your keys. They cook pancakes for your community at 11 p.m. when you’ve got the munchies. Each community has a group of students that form a Community Government that work to plan programs that will enhance your experience – both social and educational. Yeah, educational. But it’s college. You’re supposed to be learning, right? What you learn outside the classroom is important, too.
And over everything is a housing department that really cares about their residents. It’s their mission to make sure that everyone is comfortable and safe within their buildings. Basically, you’re being looked out for, without mom or dad telling you to play nice with the other kids every day. Yeah, they do care.
After 3 years of living on Carolina’s campus, I’d say for sure that there are things that you get out of on-campus life that nothing else can offer you. And it’s worth it. Best way to get connected. Best way to start your Carolina experience.