Things to Know When Living On-Campus

Like most universities, UTSA encourages students to live on campus. While it’s not a requirement, most freshmen— or rather, their parents-— decide that living on campus will be the best way to adapt to university life. For those who find themselves in this situation or are simply looking for convenient campus living, here are a few things to keep in mind when living on campus: 

It is not luxury housing, so don’t expect anything above average

Look, we all know that the excitement of apartment hunting—  especially when you’re excited about the prospect of living parent free. But the truth is, living on-campus isn’t exactly the best. While they are fairly nice and the equipment, for the most part, is taken care of, you should definitely keep in mind that you are not the first nor the last student living in the suite. It’s a simple, clean space that will suffice for basic human needs like eating, sleeping, and studying.

You get what you pay for

That being said, you get what you pay for. While the dorms are, like I said, liveable, keep in mind that the inclusions of wifi, cable, and water may come with some downsides. The wifi is not our trusty AirRowdy network that we get on-campus, it’s slow and can take— as I paraphrase an RA— up to 90 hours to download one book as a PDF document. Another downside is the pipes, which are frequently bursting and leaving tenants without hot water for up to a day and a half depending on the weekday. The only thing you can really do for any problem that arises is wait it out. 

You are bound by university policy

You are living on university grounds. This means that you are subject to follow university policy. While in the apartments (University Oaks and Laurel Village) you can have alcohol if you are over 21, there are rules that come with it. If you have roommates who are younger, even if only by a year, all alcoholic beverages are to be hidden and consumed only in your room (assuming you are the roommate who is 21+). On the basis of illegal substances that, let’s say hypothetically, are used in the apartments, you are using them on the grounds of the university at your own risk.  Whether it is you or your roommate, if caught with these substances in the apartment you are not only going to be evicted but also reported to Student Conduct and Community Standards where you will be punished by the university system. Long story short— do it somewhere else, if you really have to.  

Your roommates can be older than you

It’s a rare occurrence, especially because you typically have the option to choose/learn about your roommates before move-in, but it does happen. It’s not that big of a deal, it can easily feel like living with an older sibling if the atmosphere is right. My current roommate lived with a thirty-some year old on campus grounds last fall despite being only 21. Don’t be surprised if this happens and don’t make it weird. They’re students just like you. We’re all here for the same reason: we want an education. Age gaps between roommates are only weird if you make them weird.

 

RA’s are NOT your parents nor are they superhuman

Please, please, please keep in mind that RESIDENT ASSISTANTS ARE STUDENTS, TOO!! I cannot stress this enough. They are not there to babysit and protect residents, they are there to inform them on events happening with the complex/dorm, conduct wellness checks if your actual parents get worried about you, help you when you’re locked out, and make sure that roommates are at the very least cordial with each other. They don’t have magic or powers that are going to make them superhuman. They aren’t there to be at your rescue. They have lives outside of their jobs and are not available 24/7. If you’re really in a situation and you need an RA’s help then call the RA On-Call, but if it’s an emergency then CALL THE AUTHORITIES! The RA cannot help with domestic disputes, arguments, or suspicious activity. If you hear things outside— like gunshots or a fight— please call UTSA PD!

Walls are thin

For those of you who stay up late— please keep in mind that the walls are thin. Don’t piss off your neighbors by deciding to play the flute at 4:00 a.m. (which is a true story— Her Campus’ own Ana Martinez experienced two whole semesters of it). Be mindful of your roommates, especially. Don’t be blasting your music in the restroom if you know they’re sleeping or studying in their room. You’ll get to know their schedule as the semesters go on, so again, be mindful. Don’t annoy them by being that roommate. 

You have the facilities of an off-campus apartment

Take advantage of them! All dorms and apartments offer access to a pool and as a UTSA student you have complete access to the rec. While they may be a walk away from your actual dorm and you might not have a view of the pool, the important thing is that you do have these amenities. You aren’t completely left out of the feeling of off-campus living. All clubhouses at University Oaks also have board games, a gaming console, and a ping-pong/pool table. There’s also The Roost on campus that most students seem to forget about— it has all kinds of games that you and your friends can play and is open until midnight on weekends. 

 Your laundry will be taken out of the machine if left too long

You are not the only one who decided to do laundry on Sunday. When you decide to do this, keep a timer and pay attention to it. Don’t ignore it. Your clothes will not be fine if left in the stopped dryer for more than an hour. Someone will take out your clothes and pile them, if not on the folding table, then onto the floor. Also— be weary of your socks. Sometimes they’ll fall onto the floor while transferring clothes from the washer to the dryer and you won’t even notice. That is how your socks go missing when doing laundry in a public space because, believe me, no one but a house-elf would want just one sock.   

 Respect your roommates, you won’t always get along

Getting roommates can be an exciting thing; you’re going to live together, you’ll obviously be friends, right? Wrong. Depending on your personality and theirs, you might not always get along with your roommates, but there’s nothing you can really do about it. Just be friendly and mindful of their space. Living together does not mean instant friendships, believe me. Keep in mind that you are essentially two to four people of different backgrounds so you won’t always think the same. Don’t be hostile but be open minded. As long as you don’t kill each other in the end, that’s all that matters.