Returning to the nest

Commuting to campus has its advantages over the on-campus alternatives.

Ronald Dixon

As a first-year college student, I have asked numerous friends for advice on where I should live next semester. Essentially, I have three options: dorming, renting or living at home. In the end, I decided to select the latter.

Most college students will tell you that living at home after having tasted freedom is a drag. Keeping parents informed on plans, relying upon them for food and responsibilities at home are just a few of the cited concerns over living at home during college.

Through a cost-benefit analysis, however, I have deduced that living at home will be the best option.

Obviously, this does not apply for out-of-state students, or students who live too far outside of the metro, but I happen to live in Blaine, which is a mere 20 minutes from the University of Minnesota. Moreover, driving, which I plan to do, or busing, would save more money in the long term than staying in an apartment or in the over-priced dorms (even when considering car maintenance and gas, as well as losing the parking lottery). Finally, being in my comfortable and relatively quiet environment will serve me better than living in the dorms, which are notorious for loudness and disruptions.

Have I enjoyed the conveniences of dorm life? Sure. It is nice to be able to depart for class 15 minutes before the lecture begins, and unlimited food supplies have definitely kept me satisfied. In the end, though, the long-term savings, as well as the atmosphere of the suburbs and my home, will outweigh the dorming conveniences.

One of the greatest benefits, though, is having the ability to change my mind. At home, one is not limited by a lease; I could rent an apartment anytime or dorm the following semester if living at home fails to be a viable option. If the dollop of freedom obtained from living at the University is simply too much to give away, for example, then I could reclaim the independence whenever I would like.

If you are currently debating your future living arrangements, I hope that this piece will help you reach a decision. The consideration of a multitude of opinions has definitely helped me.