By Jessica Strickler, Staff Writer
February 6, 2013
I realize that as a rising senior, I should be opposed to most of the housing changes that High Point University is electing to make for fall 2013 because they “aren’t in my favor.” But I’m not. I believe HPU has made the best decision they could in regards to housing because it will sustain the close-knit campus for many years to come.
The vast majority of colleges and universities offer housing sign-ups prioritizing their freshmen and sophomores because they realize how crucial it is to the development of their students. If you live off the main campus, you are less likely to spend your free time on the main campus involved in activities and sports with your peers.
I know firsthand because this is my story. As a rising sophomore, the housing odds were not in the favor of my class and I ended up living in North College Terrace—the farthest property from the main campus. While I absolutely loved living there, having a stove and lots of closet space, I was never there. I forced myself to stay on main campus for the majority of the day so I wouldn’t be isolated from my peers. There were days when I would board the trolley at 7:25 a.m. and wouldn’t return to my dorm until 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. You had to think ahead for the day so you didn’t forget books, assignments or your computer charger.
Yes, I could have driven my car back and forth to campus, allowing me to come and go as I pleased. But part of living in the real world involves making good decisions. Fighting for parking on campus and using my own gas on the three minute drive seemed silly when HPU provided a free, secure and reliable shuttle every 20 minutes. Plus, I got to form a relationship with the trolley drivers. Not once did I miss the shuttle because they would see me off in the distance, running a little behind schedule, and they would wait for me. For only the second time in my life, I was a “regular” at something.
This year, as a junior, I managed to get back on campus by luck and a better positioning in the housing time slots. I was able to live in York, and it shocked me when the first day, I was ready to leave 20 minutes before my first class. I wasn’t used to just walking two or three minutes to the academic buildings. I didn’t need to make a list of things to remember, because I could just swing back by my room between classes.
I had down time, in the comfort of my room, allowing me to feel more rested and ready to tackle the world. When you live off campus, it’s a little awkward to nap on the couches in the UC Library at 2 p.m. and be awoken by a passing tour of prospective students watching you. I was able to invite friends over for movie night, or host a study group session, instead of always going to someone else’s room. The dorm in York became a place filled with actual memories.
At HPU, the place to be is on main campus and in the past, rising seniors, eager to get back on campus after living on the outskirts for two years, have quickly reserved those rooms. I realize many rising seniors this year have drawn the short straw. Some of us will have the pleasure of living off of main campus twice in our college careers. But rather than dwell on our misfortune, we would be much better off to recognize how much of a positive impact this will have for the underclassmen. They will get to have a chance to stay on main campus for two years in a row, making friends, getting involved and having time to nap in the privacy of their rooms.
And besides, we seniors really should invest in HPU’s motto of experiential learning by living off main campus. Our next step is the “real world,” and we need to know how to live in it. We should be able to cook our own food on a stove or in an oven, and know how to wash clothes with only one washer and dryer at our disposal. As they say in grade school, “Practice makes progress,” and some of us need to progress our cooking skills beyond a microwave in order to survive the real world.