By Hayley Nguyen, September 20 2016
I moved into residence with the excitement of a naïve first-year student. I thought to myself, “this is the place that I am going to call home for the next eight months.” And it was — I spent my first year in residence. But I eventually decided it was no place for me.
The first reason for my decision was the same one that people often quote as a perk of living on campus — distance. It’s true that you can roll out of bed 10 minutes before class and still make it on time.
But without self-control it is so easy to fall into the trap of hitting that snooze button and pampering yourself with five more minutes of sleep. Barely making it to my 8:00 a.m. class with dishevelled hair, I haughtily told my friends — who had to wake up two hours before class — how content I was with living on campus. But such a privilege condoned a disorganized and irresponsible lifestyle. So next time when you consider living in residence mainly as a way to get out of bed late, think twice about whether you deserve that extra 10 minutes in bed anyways.
Living on campus is also not worth the money. On the cheapest end, you have Kananaskis and Rundle Hall. Despite my fond memories of first-year residence, they are dilapidated buildings, with white-washed, brick-pattern walls and ancient carpets that you should never walk on barefoot. And don’t get me started on common areas like the lounge where literally nobody wants to hang out in and the washrooms that flood constantly.
For second-year, there is the fanciful Yamnuska Hall where you pay nearly $900 per month and still don’t have a full kitchen or your own bathroom. You have to live off the food from the Dining Centre, which is terribly expensive. I appreciate the point of putting money in your meal plan so that you don’t have deal with a debit card or cash. But how about letting you spend your money in places other than the Dining Centre, Subway or Dominos? I have $2,000 left in my account now because by the second month I was sick of the limited selection of food and resorted to splurging money in MacHall. Moving to upper-year, you have your own room and kitchen, but is paying $1,000 per month worth it?
Living on campus is tempting but it will definitely come at a high cost — not only to your or your parents’ bank accounts but also your development. It takes time to transition from high school to university, but don’t allow yourself to live in a falsely-painted illusion of university being an escape from responsibilities.
Live off-campus after your first year and experience the “real” university life of running to class from home, handling electricity bills and looking after yourself on your own.