Living on campus helps students transition into college


Jake Holloway, biology preprofessional physical therapy sophomore, finishes up a load of laundry in one of Legacy’s laundry rooms on Monday, May 7. Photo by Jeromy Stacy

Moving away from home and living independently is a big step students take when coming to college. New friends and memories are going to be made and students learn who they are while learning to live away from home.

According to Rachael Miyahara, residence-life student worker, residence-life requires all incoming freshmen to live in dormitories on campus to help students make the transition to living in a new town and getting students linked in to the campus community. On-campus housing offers room for 1,666 students to live there.

“It’s hard to make that transition into a town that you don’t know,” Miyahara said. “Not only are you in a new community on campus, but you’re also in a larger community of this town and you have to figure out the roads here. Living on-campus helps plug you into the smaller campus community.”

Most students have never lived on their own before, Miyahara said. Incoming freshmen living on-campus for their first year also helps psychologically link them in, she said.

“If you stay in isolation or if you’re surrounded by an environment you don’t know and aren’t comfortable with, your chances of dropping out, developing depression or anxiety get higher,” Miyahara said. “You need that social stimulation and community that comes with living in dorms.”

Miyahara said even living in on-campus apartments can create an isolation for students because students can lock themselves away in their rooms and not get the interaction they could get when walking out of their room from place-to-place.

“Freshmen who get impatient about wanting to live in an apartment need to put themselves in the shoes of juniors and seniors,” Miyahara said. “They’re [around] 21 or 22 and aren’t interested in living in a dorm anymore, you’re wanting to move where you can start and prepare for a home, whereas the incoming 17 or 18-year-olds are just moving out of home and want more of the [constant] interaction with other students. It’s a larger community [living in the dorms] and being in the apartments is a privilege.”

According to Miyahara, students developing a relationship with their Residence Assistant is important so that RAs can effectively do their job of meeting the needs of their residents.

“It’s absolutely important to develop a relationship with your RA,” Miyahara said. “The RAs are there to be that front-line person when you’re having issues. If they need to be a mediator [for roommates] they can do that, or they can point you in the right direction as far as resources go. They do want to have that relationship with students so that they can do their job better, but without a relationship it’s harder for them to be a resource in situations.”

Legacy residence hall
Christian Love hangs out in his Legacy dorm room with his friend, Patrick Sarsfield, financial accounting freshman on Monday, May 7. Love said he thinks Legacy is unique and classy. “It feels like living in a hotel, just without a gym included,” Love said. Photo by Jeromy Stacy

Legacy Hall, co-ed dorm with a capacity of 500:

Natalie Fruend, criminal justice freshman | “I was pretty excited because it was a new building and a nice one. I’m not a big fan of the public bathroom and showers [because] I don’t like the idea of walking down hall to use a bathroom that a bunch of people use. Living in the dorms was a learning moment. [I learned] how to be independent and on my own and had to learn how to live in a smaller space. I didn’t really get along with my roommate so it was hard to adapt to that, [but she moved out]. Since I didn’t have a roommate anymore, I pushed the beds together in my room and my friends would come over to hangout and watch Netflix in my huge bed until I found out I would have to pay a hefty fine and could be kicked out for doing that. I don’t want to live here again though, I would like to live in the on-campus apartments to have more space, be able to cook for myself more often and have a queen sized bed.”

Pierce Hall, male only dorm with a capacity of 152:

Ashton Rogers, general business freshman | “My first impression of Pierce was that it was old and run-down, everything looked like it was overused. Everyone was keeping to themselves in their own privacy, and I thought freshman year was where you met everybody you’re surrounded by in the dorm since you live right next door to each other, but it wasn’t like that. [One perk was] it was easier to get to places because everything was close to it and the stairs weren’t steep inside which made it easy to go up and down floors. My best memory was playing video games with my friends. It was fun. Everyone was outside the room in the hallway watching everyone playing against each other in 2k and Madden. The rooms had a lot of space and each person gets their own window to look outside. [My roommate and I] would disagree on different things which effected us living together and I would have to hide my stuff from him because we had an instance of him stealing from me. I would rather live in Sunwatcher because you have your own room with privacy and can leave your stuff in your own bathroom instead of carrying it down the hall.”

McCullough-Trigg Hall, co-ed dorm with a capacity of 153:

Demian Ponce, mass communication freshman | “Whenever I first walked in I thought the room was tiny. There isn’t much space- there’s a bed, a dresser and then you look to your right and there’s the closet. I chose Trigg because of the privacy and I like the living room area. Living here made my dorm-life experience different than I expected it to be because I wasn’t living in the same room as my roommate, just the same area. As soon as we met we started talking about our majors and different things we related to and we clicked. Honestly I just got lucky with my roommate. The first day him and I went and got breakfast then I met five other people. We had a little get together, with some people we had met, in our living room area and we sat there listening to music all night. Having people over was the best part. I plan on staying here again, but next year I’ll be on [a different] floor.”

Killingsworth Hall, female only dorm with a capacity of 251:

Sarah Glawe, education sophomore | “My first reaction was how old the building was, but I really liked the setups of the rooms. I liked how private everything could be as well as being open. I became really close with my neighbors and everybody in my hall so there was a good sense of community in our hall and [dorm-life] turned out better than I expected. The girls in our hall would always meet once a week in the hallway and talk with each other. Sometimes we would have hall dinners and movie nights. My roommate was super clean and we are really close friends now, it was a great experience. I would like to live in Sunwatcher mainly for the kitchen so that I can meet my dietary needs of being a vegetarian and I think it would be nice to be out of Killingsworth even though it’s been really good to me. It’s always fun to move on and grow. Living in Killingsworth taught me how to live around others and how to deal with others being noisy.”

Sunwatcher Plaza, on-campus apartments community with a capacity of 336:

Elizabeth Cathcart, marketing junior | “I was attracted to Sunwatcher because I wanted to have a kitchen to cook in. Here you have your own washer and drier, you can lock your door to all your personal belongings versus in the dorms you can’t lock anything away from your roommates. Living in the dorms was a blast, except for the time someone took my sweats out of the drier in Killingsworth. One of my favorite things from the dorms was hanging out with my friends. My friend and I would take a laptop to watch movies in the entertainment rooms- that was a huge perk of Legacy. It’s easier to interact with people in the dorms versus here where, even though we have neighbors, I’ve never talked to them. I’ve been so boring here, but my favorite thing has been learning to cook and feeling safe because I can lock my [personal] door. I’m becoming a future housewife. I am able to cook really good meals, and I have learned to clean well and take out the trash. I feel like a 25-year-old adult and I’m coming home from work to see my kids, but my kids are playing with their friends so I’m here doing my homework all alone.”

Chloe Phillips
Michaela Govea, nursing freshman, likes dorm life because “everything is just right outside fo your dorm.” It’s also easy to make friends living on campus “You just walk out of your dorm and there’s people there,”Govea said. Photo by Chloe Phillips.

Sundance Square, on-campus apartment with a capacity of 274:

Elam Lazo, radiology junior | “I used to live in Pierce so my first reaction was that this is a bigger place. I don’t have to share a room with anybody else so that was good. Housing chose Sundance for me, but I like it because I have my own bedroom and bathroom, and I know the person I live with; I didn’t know my roommate in Pierce. Dorm-life was louder, less clean and more social than living in the apartments. My freshman year I’m glad I was in a dorm because I got to meet people, but after that I would definitely pick the apartments because I like privacy. [In the apartments] I’m able to bring people over at any time. My roommate and I are basically the same with cleaning so we don’t have any issues. I plan on staying here because I’m comfortable and moving out would mean I have to pay other bills like electricity.”

Off-campus students:

Ellie Gunderson, political science junior | “I lived in Killingsworth and Legacy before I moved off-campus. I liked my room [in Killingsworth] because I decorated it very nicely and felt like it was a good space for me my freshman year. My bathrooms were always clean and the janitors were very nice. [In Legacy], I didn’t necessarily like living in a co-ed dorm because it was a lot dirtier and crowded, but the laundry room was nice along with all the new stuff that came with the dorm. I don’t like the layout of the room itself, I prefer the z-shape room like in Killingsworth. I wouldn’t go back to staying in a dorm, but I would live in an on-campus apartment because I like having my own space and bathroom. Living in the Mustang Village Apartments is nice because I get all of that and have more closet space. The hardest adjustment was factoring in time to get to school and find a place to park. I think for your first year you should live on-campus so that you can familiarize yourself with everything that is there. It’s fun to live on-campus.”

Advice from students:

Fruend | “Don’t pack your life away. If you don’t wear it, you don’t need it. You don’t need as much stuff as you think you do.”

Rogers | “Leave your door locked and don’t automatically trust your roommate. Stay organized and make sure you set aside time to wash clothes. Don’t come with high expectations.”

Gunderson | “Keep your room as organized as possible and only pack for the season you’ll be there. You only need half your wardrobe per semester.”

Ponce | “If you want privacy, choose Trigg, but if you want space, choose Legacy. Pierce is super fun too. I don’t live in Pierce, but I’ve been in there a lot.”

Glawe | “Communicate with your roommate and clean your hair out of the drain once you’ve finished showering. Keep your side of the room clean and your roommate will love you, but mostly clean the hair out of the drain. That’s disgusting.”

Lazo | “Bring what you think you’re going to need. Enjoy the year that you’re going to get to socialize with more people than you would in the apartments.”

Cathcart | “Dorms are actually really fun. You meet more people that way and I miss dorms. You talk to people everyday whereas now, I could go three days without talking to anyone.”