Students are abandoning their early wake-up times and arduous subway rides to have their first taste of dorm life. Former commuters are switching into residence halls for the Spring semester in search of independence, convenience and more vibrant social lives.
CAS freshman Wenqi Qiu, who used to commute from his home in Queens, said that living on campus was simply more convenient.
“I decided to apply for spring housing because commuting was a lot more work than I thought it would be,” Qiu said. “I had 8 a.m. [classes] this past semester, classes which started earlier than any of my high school classes, so it was a hard transition. I also often found myself leaving campus very late at night, sometimes past midnight.”
Now a resident of Founders Residence Hall, Qiu thinks that living on his own will give him the independence that he lacked while living at home. He said that he enjoys having more free time during the day as he no longer has to travel to campus.
“I won’t have to worry about getting home at night or waking up extra early in case of train delays,” Qiu said. “I’ll have a place to leave my belongings and not have to lug them around the whole day.”
Senior Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Tom Ellet said that while the school does not specifically track data on commuters, 1,070 students moved into housing this spring. He said that the housing department is able to find room for the incoming residents because students who lived in dorms during the fall may study abroad, take a leave of absence or, in rare cases, transfer to a different university.
“We will have approximately 200 to 500 vacancies in the spring semester,” Ellet said.
Stern freshman Jeremiah Campoverde’s 15 minute commute from Hoboken, NJ is much less time consuming than Qiu’s, but he still decided that living on campus was a better option for this semester. Campoverde said that he originally wanted to live in on-campus housing during the fall, but was unable to due to financial constraints. However, he later received the financial assistance that he needed to move to a residence hall.
“I’ll get to see how life is outside of my family while learning lessons that I wouldn’t have had I stayed at home,” Campoverde said.
Campoverde also said that he believes it will be easier to socialize with other students if he lives on campus.
“My friend group was seriously limited during my first semester, at least to me, and so I really want to expand my network and meet people whom I would never meet outside of classes, where most of my friends during the fall came from,” Campoverde said.
Ellett also said that the process of helping commuters acclimate to living on their own is the same as helping other freshmen adjust to living in dorms during the fall. RAs are trained, students go to floor meetings and receive door decorations, and webinars are hosted to show students features of their dorms.
Even with this extra help, Campoverde said that commuters still have to adjust the same way that students in residence halls did during the fall semester.
“I just realized that I’m not gonna be in my own bed for about three months, five months at most. So being away from home is definitely a struggle since I’m close to my family despite my desire to be away from them,” Campoverde said.
Still, Campoverde said the benefits of living on campus outweigh the reservations he has about leaving home. He said that the struggle of being separated from one’s family is essential to developing as a person.
“I want to experience life alone and make those controversial choices — not too controversial — that would enable me to truly take accountability for myself,” Campoverde said.
Email Natasha Roy at [email protected]