To Move or Not to Move; Debating a Student’s Dilemma
Where to live can be one of the most challenging aspects of student life to figure out; this goes double for living in Boulder, where the housing costs are outrageously high. If a student has the option of living at home with family or moving out and renting a place of their own, it can seem almost impossible to decide which course of action to take. There are benefits and disadvantages to both sides of the issue, and a student should genuinely consider what they want before making this choice. One of the best ways I’ve found of making a decision of this significance is to lay out the options next to each other and compare them directly. Where a student lives during their university life will make a significant impact on how their college career plays out.
Living at home – the pros:
For one semester of my freshman year, I lived at home with my mother, and I won’t deny that I greatly enjoyed this time. One of the perks of staying at home is the time spent with family, provided that a student is close with them. Another profit to staying at home is all of the money saved. The funds that a student would have spent on independent living might have been stored or invested elsewhere. Perhaps that money could have been retained for living arrangements after college, as that is an active source of stress for many a student. Living in Boulder is brutally expensive, especially for a college student still finding their way in life. I’ve been flabbergasted by the exorbitant cost of living in Boulder. If a student must support themselves while living alone, without any financial aid, moving to Boulder may be a challenge. Even living in a rickety apartment, which wouldn’t pass anywhere else, can mean spending over $1,000 a month in rent. If a student is not prepared financially for living independently in Boulder, perhaps moving out is not the best option. This means that staying at home may spare a student the burden of living alone in Boulder.
Living at home – the cons:
Living at home can mean a separation from the active nature of college life. There is a significant distance from the university atmosphere when a student doesn’t live on campus. Because of this, it might be more challenging to make
friends and become involved in the college lifestyle. Not only is the gap between a family home and the university life a difficult one to negotiate concerning the social aspects of campus living, but Boulder can also find itself locked into some harsh winters. This leads me to another significant point to consider; transportation. If a student doesn’t have a car and lives at home, it might be difficult, or even impossible in some cases to reach the campus during days of heavy snowfall. If a student’s home is reasonably far away from the school, they’ll need access to a vehicle or some other method of public transportation. Carpooling, bicycling, or taking the bus are all great options, but they all must be
organized to serve the proper effect. For example, if a student bikes to school, they must plan for what to do on rainy or icy days. If they carpool, they will need to find others who go to the college at around the same time of day and must prepare if the driver would not be able to pick them up one day. Living away from the campus requires careful consideration, and a student needs to understand these aspects before making their decision.
Moving out – the pros:
If a student chooses to move out, it can mean finding opportunities much closer to the university. It will be easier to discover friends and groups to connect with, as well as being nearer to the activities that occur on campus. Clichè as it may sound, there is indeed a college atmosphere. Living at home can mean missing out on the student lifestyle which you only truly experience as a college kid. Moving away from home can also mean becoming accustomed to being independent. For many, college is a transitional period from living solely in the family home, which may make living alone much more natural post-college; when you have a job and must adapt to being away from home. Learning how to be independent in college has been one of the most beneficial aspects of going to university. It’s likely I won’t recall the crucial elements of Game Theory from my Global Affairs class two or three years from now, but I’ll know how to hunt for an apartment, how to find a job on my own, how to balance work and a moderately reasonable sleep schedule, and so on. Right now, I’m learning how to pay bills, how to do taxes, how to care for a household (with the invaluable help of my roommates), yet I’m not completely overwhelmed with the responsibilities of adulthood. This learning experience is perhaps the most compelling reason to move out.
Moving out – the cons:
It can be challenging to make the leap from the family home to living independently. Some students might not be ready to move out, especially considering the stress of the dramatic shift from high school to college. Every person handles new experiences differently. One student might not feel that moving to campus, or very close to it, is anything significant, while for another the transition may be an extremely traumatic one to navigate. While it is important to
challenge yourself, it needs to be something that you have prepared for. If a student’s mental health will significantly suffer from leaving, perhaps it would be wise to take it slow. One of the greatest tragedies of being young is being in a constant state of rush. There isn’t always a need to grow up faster than what you’re ready for. Another critical consideration for moving out is the reality of roommates. For an undergraduate student, it would be almost impossible to live anywhere without roommates; Boulder is far too expensive for that. While some consider roommates to be a plus, others may find it difficult to live with anyone else besides family.
The decision concerning where a student will live during their college career is a major one, and it is something that should be considered from all angles. I can hardly say what a student ought to do, only that they should think about what it is they want from university life. During my two years of college, I’ve lived at home, in the dorms, as well as in an apartment with roommates. Truthfully, I couldn’t really say which one is the best option, only that it is incredibly dependent on that specific student and their income, personality, and position in life. If you are a student wondering which course of action you should take, really think about which situation would suit you best. For me, that was the best thing I could do.