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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “When in doubt, stay in the dorms”

    I’ve recently had a recurring dream that most UA students would consider a nightmare. I wake up in my Villa del Puente dorm room, where I lived last year, and all my current upperclassman anxieties have vanished. I can even envision the intricacy of my old roommate’s custom-made hot pink bedspread and authentic brown pillow from Paris. All is well because I’m re-living my favorite year at UA.

    But nothing about this dream could ever become a reality. It’s impossible to go back in time, and it’s almost as impossible to live in the residence halls past freshman year at UA. I was very lucky to stay on campus for two years, but it didn’t come without taking abuse from my siblings and acquaintances. Extended dorm living wasn’t even allowed at my brother’s university, California State University-Chico. Most California colleges literally kick everyone out of the dorms after year one. More than anything, most people can’t understand why anyone would want to live in a dorm for more than a year.

    There are many reasons why people don’t overstay their welcome at the UA dorms. The most obvious issue is that there are not enough residence halls for the entire freshman class, so upperclassmen are not encouraged to stay on campus. Even new freshmen have been waitlisted or told to just go find an apartment close to campus. Last year, three UA students spent their first few weeks of college temporarily living in a Villa del Puente study lounge. They were moved when more dorm rooms opened up.

    Besides the fact that dorms are overcrowded, most students don’t want to live by residence hall rules for another year. Some can’t handle sharing a room. Others are repulsed by the conditions of the public restrooms, which are still cleaned five days a week by cheerful staff. The majority don’t like that they’re not allowed to imbibe alcohol in the dorms. Most people hate the immature drunkards who pull the fire alarm at 3 a.m., sending all dorm residents out of bed and into the chilly desert night.

    To many, dorm life can seem like a jail sentence, and these same individuals believe you have to “”do your time”” on campus to get the “”full college experience.”” There’s a one-dimensional experience that many expect out of residence life. Many students don’t realize how great a convenience residence life can be. They’re scared off by the alcohol regulations and they don’t want to share living space. This strikes me as spoiled.

    It seems like a lot of people want to live on campus as freshmen to meet life-long friends. After creating a stable social network in the dorms, these students feel residence life has served its purpose, so there’s no use in staying on campus for an extra year.

    Many universities across the nation actually want students to take full advantage of dorm life. Colorado College requires all students to live on campus until they have senior status. Bucknell University guarantees housing for four years. These may be private colleges, but their residence life administrators understand that not all sophomores are ready to move off campus, so there are proper accommodations for these students.

    As someone who lived in a dorm for two years, I know that my college experience would have been limited if I moved off campus as a sophomore. Though some people thought it was strange of me to willingly live in a dorm twice, I met another set of incredible people. I had the chance to stay involved with campus life for another year, and I didn’t have to face adulthood yet.

    I’m among the many that had a horrible freshman year and wanted to start fresh as a sophomore. You’d be surprised how many people hate their first year at college, and staying on campus for an extra year gives these students a second chance to actually enjoy university life.

    Believe it or not, many freshmen are uncertain about moving off campus. They may feel pressured to do so, and I’m here to instruct all these uneasy students against it. If you want more out of a disappointing first-year dorm experience, or if you’re not ready to live in a house, stay in the dorms. I wish more students would swallow their pride and do this.

    -ÿLaura Donovan is a creative writing junior. She can be reached at

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