Home sweet home

St. John’s University is primarily a commuter school, but with the new dormitories being built, the option of making the university a place of residency is becoming more popular amongst students. So, what is the best way to experience your college years? There are positives and negatives to both living situations, but it really depends on what feels right for the individual.

Living on campus in the resident village is one option. For a standard double room at St. John’s University, students pay $7,600 a year. Meal plans are required for all resident students, of which there are seven different options, ranging from $2,500 to $4,620 per year. However, various aspects of living on campus may seem peculiar for someone who is a commuter and has never lived in the dorms. They may raise their eyebrow when resident students talk about 1 a.m. fire drills that left them outside for forty-five minutes, or how they have to occupy a suite with seven other people. Some would wonder why anyone would ever agree to these terms. Only when you are actually in the dorms and experiencing the situation first hand can you grasp what this is really like.

On the positive side, roommates, in most situations, can be almost like instant friends. They are someone to talk to and hang out with at all times. Living in such close quarters with people makes it a lot easier to get to know each other, and to forge deep friendships since many things are shared. Even when the roommate situation does not work out, you are forced to learn how to handle conflicts and compromise with other people. This may be hard to get used to at first, but by the end of the year, your problem solving skills become quite cultivated (at least in figuring out who gets to control the television set for that night).

Living on campus is also convenient for travel time to class and getting homework done. Since the dorms are less than 10 minutes away from the academic buildings, residents have more of an opportunity to catch extra minutes of shut eye and simply dash off to class in their pajamas. The library is only a five minute walk from the resident halls and is open late into the night. By residing on campus, students can study later at the facility and not worry about driving home when they’re exhausted, or dealing with distracting noise from siblings. The dining hall is located right across from the resident village, making meals simple since meal plans are required for resident students.

When living at home, students may feel that they have a ready-made support system. There may be someone to cook dinner and to wash your laundry, or make sure you are up for class every morning and that you leave on time. Students are completely independent in the dorms, and have complete free range on how they want to conduct their lives. No one will reprimand them for sleeping through their classes, or not doing laundry for a whole month. Commuters can avoid distractions that are common on campus, such as roommates playing loud music or asking you to come join them in the dining hall. Not wanting to miss the fun, students sometimes abandon their work just to keep on the social scene, which can lead to a damaging GPA.

If you are living at home, then it is more comfortable and less of an adjustment. By not having to be preoccupied by roommate situations or conflicts, your focus can be solely on academics. Since most of the day and some the night is spent on campus, it is a relief to finally leave at the end of the day and have a separation of school and home.

Living in an apartment off-campus is a big responsibility, but it also has definite perks. There are no stipulations or regulations you have to follow regarding practices that happen in your apartment like there are in the resident halls and campus apartments. It is your space, so no one can tell you what you can or cannot have in your apartment (except for the landlord that collects your rent). A major downfall in this, however, is that it may become overwhelming to keep up with the responsibilities associated with having an apartment, such as food, rent, utilities, cable and Internet, on top of school-related obligations.

For a three-bedroom apartment in Flushing, rent is approximately $1,800 a month. The cable bill is $107, gas/electric is $160 and groceries and household needs can add up to $300 a month. These costs can be cut lower depending on how many people live in the apartment. The more residents that live there, the less each person has to pay for utilities and rent, which is why roommates are a good solution to making this living arrangement feasible.

Each of these housing arrangements offers a different kind of living experience, and regardless of whether or not a student lives on campus, there are plenty activities or organizations they could join to feel more at home. We’re all part of the University.