It’s 3 a.m. on a Tuesday and the echoes of rolling chairs, heavy footsteps and laughter are preventing the sweet wave of sleep to take over. Class starts at 10 a.m. and I count on my fingers: I’ll only get six hours of sleep if I pass out right now allotting time to lay in bed after my alarm goes off, get ready and get some breakfast before walking to Jamrich.
This was a common late night endeavor for me last year living on the third floor of Cedar West. On the other hand, I’ve been on the other side of the situation where my friends and I were having a grand time hanging out in our rooms, but the clock struck 10 p.m. and the dorms are must fall silent marking “quiet hours.”
Though living in the residence halls at a university can be very helpful, at times, the place I’m paying a lot to live in just doesn’t feel like a home.
There is a policy at NMU that requires students to live in the dorms on campus for two years before they are eligible to move off campus. My question is why? Trust me I did the research and asked my resident advisor and they all say the same thing.
According to the Housing Requirement page on NMU’s website, living on campus promotes student involvement, opportunities to interact with others and participation in community and campus development. Resident hall staff are also employed to help students discover these opportunities and provide supervision.
Don’t get me wrong, it is very important to get involved and meet new people and living in close quarters with other students is an easy way to do so. However, after one year of living in the dorms I think I’ve had my fair share. I was introduced to many opportunities, followed the many rules outlined when living in the dorms and lived close enough to other angsty young adults. It’s time to move out.
As a sophomore in college, I will fully admit I don’t know everything and I haven’t peaked in responsibility, but I have faith in myself that I’m capable of living off campus. Now everyone is different and I’m not suggesting everyone is ready to leave the campus cocoon after one year, but why not provide the option? One more year under the supervision of another student won’t change anything except for the amount of money I have in my college savings.
I wholeheartedly believe those in charge of the Housing Requirement rules want students to stay on campus to promote better attendance, healthy eating and for adjustment purposes, but I ask again why two years? That’s when it’s important to consider the cost difference.
In some circumstances a student could find a rental and, including monthly groceries, still pay what it costs to live a semester at NMU for the full year essentially paying half the price of living.
There are some popular exceptions to the Housing Requirement. Students that are junior status (completed 56 or more credits), students 21 or older, non-full time students and a few more that can be found on the NMU website. Any student with extenuating circumstances due to physical, mental or financial position can fill out an application to be granted approval to live elsewhere.
It’s important to take into account students that will only be enrolled for two or three years completing associates degrees or programs like cosmetology. If they are required to stay in the dorms the whole time they’re enrolled, how will they transition on integrating themselves into the real world?
There needs to be a middle ground. There are many other colleges that don’t require students to live on campus at all like Saginaw Valley State University, I mention because it has roughly the same amount of undergraduate enrollment.
Living in the dorms has been a valuable experience for me personally, but everyone is different. That is why it is important to consider why there is a requirement instead of a choice.