What are the advantages and disadvantages of commuting from home to college vs living in a dorm?

Mom and Dad or quasi Freedom?

Living at college in a dorm room is an interesting experience. You have your own "space" yet are part of a larger community when you open your door. The entire college experience is a learning trip. During the day you are learning in classrooms and once the academic day is over you return to your living space and , studying aside, learn more about who you are, who you might want to be. Because you are living in a bee hive of other similarly aged young adults there are an unlimited number of opportunities to meet people from different cultures and living situations. In one academic year in a small mid-western liberal arts college I remember meeting 1 black man who had been involved in one of the African wars of the 1970s (I regret at this time, 30 years later, I don't remember which one, but I think it had something to do with Biafra(sp?) and I remember him telling a few horrendous tales of action. He was so grateful for the events which had brought him to this quiet sanctuary in the midwest. Another guy was destined to be a teacher, another became a PhD in Psychology and decided he liked music and got a PhD in that, later.

In the dorm you have to opportunity to meet and spend time with others, in part because they may be right down the hall, or up, or down, a flight or two of stairs you wind up sometimes talking till wee hours in the morning, yet you don't have to go out side and travel dark streets to get home. I can think of easily a half dozen very interesting people I met in that dorm building in that year and there are probably a dozen more who I would need a lot of prompting to remember. This is in contrast to a year I live in an apartment building in downtown Boston where I met 1 neighbor in a year. The situation is just so different.

Dorm life is part of the transitional experience of becoming an adult. You don't have Mom or Dad telling you when to go out or come back, or when to sleep and wake up. You don't have to go to class, though if you divide the number of hours you spend in classes and study into the cost of tuition and room and board, you will be horrified at what each missed class cost.... This is a time when you are free to experiment with who you want to be as an emerging adult, yet you have the security of a warm place to sleep and if you buy the meal plan, a place to eat as well. Schools tend to group students together by class year so as a Freshman it's likely there are other Freshmen down the hall or up those stairs who remembered to write down the science assignment you missed because you arrived in class a little late, or someone else who understands what effect Lend Lease had on the entrance of America into the Second World War. You can attend every late ending concert, lecture, or any other event that captures your fancy, with out having to drive a long distance home.

Because you are part of a fairly close knit community, living on campus in a dorm generally means you have a better "feel" for the nightlife and social activities that are current than some one who drives home at the end of the academic day.

On the other hand, it is frequently a lot cheaper to live at home and commute to school, so it will depend heavily on what school you are attending and how much that costs whether or not you have the dorm option. Living at home means living with parents and that is simply a different experience than a dorm. If you go to on campus parties you have to careful not to imbibe mind altering materials, as the constabulary is ever more vigilant about intercepting those who might not have complete control of their automobile. Having spent 5 years as an EMT on an ambulance, I can assure you, that is a good thing, but it can cramp your style :)

If financial circumstances dictate your continuing occupancy of your childhood bedroom, it's a good thing to be sure you have several friends who are dorm dwellers and thus you have a space on their floor to call your own on those late nights when the studying has rendered it too late to safely drive home and you can get from them some of the "feel" of what's happening on campus.

I would encourage everyone to try to spend at least their Freshman year in a dorm with other like students, if that's at all possible. That first feeling of independence and exploration in the new environment will stay with you for the rest of your life.

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review909 7 years ago from USA

unique article! i've both experienced the two. but i still prefer to live at home because my parents we're not really that strict..hehehe..and besides, there's no place like home!


Twin XL 7 years ago

Nice article- I think part of dorm life is learning how to deal with different personalities.


mouli 6 years ago

nice article and very true..i hav lived in both the places..living in a dorm gave me freedom to make my own choices good or bad and be responsible for them,i felt like an adult who could deal herself with any situation with my gang always there to help me :)

but one thing i would like to say, after living in a dorm u feel suffocated sumtimes when u shift back...cos u don't hav d same freedom or flexibility to play music at full vol at 1 am in night..lol and many similar things.


kims3003 6 years ago

great article. nice writing style A+!


Ongeri  6 years ago

An educative & relevant article.It has assisted in making a prudent decision.Thank u 4 the same.

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