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Spending Senior Year On Campus

Senior year is strange in oh so many ways.  It’s a push and pull between trying to be present in the moment yet worrying about post-grad plans.  It’s an insanely intense period of discernment.  It’s jumping in the lake because a recent grad told you it’s a must do.  Pretty soon, it will be marshmallows on a game day.

And it is, like most of college, a period of quasi-adulthood.  However, my call to live on campus with a roommate has never felt more like clinging to being less responsible and not a real adult.  

Now, all of my close friends live on campus, usually in my hall, and so moving off campus didn’t even register to me as something that would benefit me.  My roommate and I have been living together since sophomore year, and the opportunity to gain a super double this year was too good to pass up for a miniscule single. We have arranged our room the same way for the past two years, acquiring new posters, a storage cube and beanbag over the course of three years in the hall.  

But now, because I am inadvertently making new friends at my job this year, I am learning from their perspectives living off campus this year, and I wonder if I am missing out. Every point I can imagine has pros and cons.

1. Cooking – Off campus, you have the chance to get a crash course in grocery shopping and food preparation, as well as the opportunity to make brownies without searching your entire dorm for a measuring cup and a pan.  But, the luxury of  a meal plan, even one that gets a bit repetitive sometimes, is one we will never have again.

2. Transit – On campus, we enjoy a relatively commute-free life.  A fifteen minute walk to Flanner might be the peak of a long commute to class.  Off campus living requires planning ahead and allocating far more time to get to class or meetings on campus, offering a more realistic look at the life of being a real adult.  So, maybe not a present day benefit, but less of a rude awakening post-graduation.

3.  Independent Living – As much as we all like to think we went off on our own for school, we have a minimum of six supervisors in our halls, from rectors to RAs.  So, when in crisis or a rough spot, we have an accessible guidance system and support network.  Off campus, there is true independence, an absence of parietals but no one whose job it is to look out for you.   

There really doesn’t seem to be a superior way of living at Notre Dame.  One grants you an extra year slightly worry-free, and the other is a gradual bridge into adulthood.  I am content for now to listen to the stories of apartment renting and yard maintenance, and enjoy an extra year ignoring most of that.


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Julia Erdlen

Notre Dame

I'm a junior living in Ryan Hall. Majoring in English and minoring in Science, Technology, and Values, and Computing and Digital Technologies. I'm from just outside of Philadelphia, and people tend to call out my accent. In the free time I barely have, I'm consuming as much superhero media and as many YA novels as pssible.
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