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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Dorms are for freshmen only

    The spring semester has only just begun, but UA students and faculty members are, as always, already planning for the next academic year. Residence Life is no different; incoming freshmen have been receiving their acceptance letters for the past few months, and current residents need to decide whether or not to live in the dorms next year before any new residents are guaranteed a room. For the sake of these new freshmen — and as a start to the general coming-of-age process — current residents should gracefully bow out, pack up and move out of their rooms for good this May.

    The experience of living in a dorm is great for freshmen. College is filled with changes that can be overwhelming for new students; even without academic pressure, they have to navigate a strange city and campus, live in painfully close proximity to people they’ve never met, and learn how to function without their parents. However, there is comfort in knowing that everyone else around them is in the same boat, creating a common bond. Every year, the once forced communities become friendly, and it doesn’t take long to transition from the comforts of home into a formerly intimidating college environment.

    Unlike freshmen, sophomores or juniors in the dorms have already experienced this transition, so while they may also be lively members of the dorm community, they don’t connect with new residents on that same level.

    Even with the two new residence halls and Coronado Residence Hall’s reopening, there will not be enough room for all freshmen to live in a dorm next year. According to the UA Fact Book, incoming freshman enrollment has been steadily increasing over the past five years, and this fall saw a freshman enrollment of 7,300. If every residence hall available for 2012-13 were filled to capacity, 6,640 undergraduate students could live on campus, including resident assistants. The two honors dorms, Árbol de la Vida and Yuma Residence Hall, can house 897 honors freshmen, further restricting housing for regular students.

    Does it seem fair for someone to unnecessarily live in a dorm for multiple years when so many freshmen won’t get a chance to have the dorm experience at all?

    Many residents choose to stay in the dorms for another year because they believe that they won’t find a reasonably priced apartment or rental that is close enough to campus. According to the UA Residence Life website, it costs between $5,360 and $7,450 to live in a residence hall with a double room for the entire academic year. That means rent averages between $536 and $745 per month, including utilities. Six apartment complexes located within a mile of campus — a reasonable walking or biking distance — advertised in the Student Insider magazine, and their listed rents were between $365 and $915 per month. Renting one of these apartments may cost a bit more than a dorm room, but considering that apartment dwellers have more than 144 square feet to their name, the upgrade seems like a better deal for your money.

    Eventually, everyone’s dorm experience will end. We will all graduate, and an easy living situation like the dorms won’t be available anymore. Everyone who takes a job will have to find a place to live that might cost more than they would like, and it probably won’t be conveniently located on-site. Rather than put off the search and keep new residents from having a place to live at all, try to find a place off campus. Enjoy the first year experience, but don’t overstay your welcome.

    — Lauren Shores is a journalism sophomore. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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