What’s better: Dorm, apartment or house? We weigh in

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Illustration by Joseph Weeden

By Anna Mills & Katie Dunn & Zoe Colburn, for the Easterner

Despite dorm accessibility, houses provide cheaper living, more space and privacy

By Anna Mills – Photographer

Mills
Mills

Early and often spring cleaning is what I call dorm life, at least for a girl who lived her whole life with a walk-in closet. Besides the fact that living in a dorm was conveniently close to almost everything on campus it wasn’t the best living situation. The close quarters needed some adjustment too, as the only time to yourself was when your roommate was in class or at home for the weekend.

Our neighbors picked their own lifestyle, whether it was blasting their music at odd hours of the day, hearing their beds bump against the wall, the occasional drunken slur, or the fact that students from other floors decided to visit yours and start up conversations when we were doing homework, for once. There also were the dorm activities, which made it seem as if we were at camp, painting christmas ornaments, or having movie nights.

I am glad I took the opportunity to live in a dorm. The majority of the people I still talk to are friends of mine from my freshmen year. Some of my true “college moments” happened in the dorms or with the people I met in them.

But, the two years as a dorm member proved to me that I needed my own place. The idea of being able to do what I wanted, when I wanted, sounded like heaven at the time. I would be able to have my own room, time to myself and the ability to actually cook food because our kitchen wouldn’t be closed.

Despite the fact that my closet still wasn’t big enough when I moved, I had more space of my own and a place to live in the summer, so I didn’t have to go back to my hometown. I finally had walls that I could decorate and could hold up a poster. I didn’t have to sleep on a twin bed and had parking right in front of my house, rather than walking down to the football field. Yes, I spent a little more money right off the bat: buying supplies, kitchen utensils, pots and pans, but it has yet to exceed the amount I spent on a dorm room and a meal plan.

However, my roommates took on the role of my dorm neighbors. They were messy at times, had people over late into the night or bothered me by asking how to pay the bills every month. I didn’t enjoy cleaning the kitchen every week because they didn’t know how to or having to be sleep deprived because their friends were over countless hours into the night.

You might say it’s a toss up. Dorm life and house life. Depending on how lucky you are, you might be far off campus rather than a minute away from the PUB. Your roommate freshman year might still be your roommate now. Maybe your “freshman fifteen” is now your senior thirty because you realized you really don’t know how to cook and beer is the only thing in your fridge, along with the fact that the gym isn’t right across from the street and your senior classes are more intense than CPLA.

If ever asked, having lived in both situations, I would definitely pick the house. Just the idea that there is a little more space and privacy beats being far away from something. We are all poor and, most likely, living farther off campus will result in more exercise so we don’t have to spend money on gas. My picture perfect life never started, or even surrounded, the idea of living in a dorm; therefore I will always pick the alternative.

Residence Halls equal convenience, living a step away makes college easy

By Katie Dunn – Staff Writer

Dunn
Dunn

Living on campus creates less hassle.

The dorms are the perfect starter home for students who are not ready to take on the challenges that come with balancing school and their housing situation or for students who have never experienced life on their own and need to take baby-steps to get used to the changes that come with greater responsibility.

Dorms give you less to worry about.

When you move into a new apartment you have to monitor your rent, internet, electricity, water and waste bills. With a dorm room, you still have to pay for these things but only at the beginning of each quarter with everything bundled together in one bill.

If something stops working in a dorm, like a sink that won’t drain, you can fill out a work order form, and it’ll be fixed promptly. There is no need to go through any higher authorities and a plumber is usually sent over as soon as possible so you’re not waiting for a landlord to deal with the problem.

Because the dorms are within a reasonable walking distance from most of the classes Eastern offers, excluding classes on the Riverpoint campus, most dorm students do not have a long commute from home to class.

Closer classes mean you can relax at home longer and transportation is less of a concern because if you don’t have to drive, you never need to worry about finding a parking space or having the right amount of change for a meter.

Eastern’s campus offers a variety of places to get food in a rather small area so you don’t have to go out of your way to grab a meal, unless you live in Brewster Hall.

Brewster does have The Brickhouse Deli right on the first floor, but the meal options are very limited there.

According to Paul Kile, assistant director for EWU’s dining and catering services, food choices at The Brickhouse Deli are limited because Brewster Hall is not a high traffic location.

But that doesn’t mean Brewster Hall lacks food options, though, because the dorm is situated by other Cheney stores and restaurants like the Owl Pharmacy and Zentropa.

So even the most displaced dorm hall has convenient food around.

Eastern also has a generous amount of resources for students.

“I believe the most convenient aspect for students living on campus is the access to support services, athletic events, dining, campus activities and friends,” said Josh Ashcroft, chief officer of Housing and Residential Life. “They are literally just a step away.”

The JFK library and the PUB lab provide access to computers and printers, making it easier to do homework. The URC provides opportunities to workout in the multipurpose arena, climbing wall and fitness center.

All students can have access to these resources, but when you live on campus, you’re more likely to take advantage of what’s offered because you’re always around it.

Apartments provide a middle ground, perfect for those not ready for a house

By Zoe Colburn – Opinion Editor

Colburn
Colburn

Growing up as the youngest of four kids I learned to value my privacy pretty early on, and the fact that all my siblings and I had our own rooms didn’t make the transition to sharing a 12-by-9-foot box any easier.

I’ve lived in a couple different dorms. My freshman year, I was going to Boise State University and lived in a room with three other girls. We had our own bathroom and the room was split down the middle to give us two smaller halves, each half shared between two girls. It wasn’t the worst situation and even though I made friends with my roommates, it was still difficult to almost never have my own space away from everyone.

Here at Eastern I lived in a double room in snyamncut. I didn’t have to worry about making friends with my roommate because I’d known her since I was eight, and even though we pretty much know what makes each other tick, again, not being able to close my door and tell her to leave me alone for a few hours was a huge problem.

And although I’m not exactly a dietician, I still felt like the food options on campus — both here and at BSU — were far from anything even reminiscent of a balanced diet, but the limited options for being able to buy supplies and cook my own food made eating well too much of a hassle.

Dorm living really wasn’t for me; even living with a friend I’ve known for just about 14 years was just not my cup of tea. I’ve never been good at sharing space and the lack of having an area that was exclusively mine really did a number on my mental health.

So, last year I was pretty much out the door when it came time to sign up for housing.

Essentially, it came down to whether I wanted an apartment or a house.

Personally, I’m actually a fan of apartment living. Sure, it’s small and you don’t have a yard, but as far as I’m concerned, I barely have the time and energy to get my dishes done before they start growing mold, let alone to tend to a yard, no matter how small. And most apartment buildings in Cheney are new enough constructions that heating bills will stay fairly reasonable.

I have nothing against living in a house and my roommates and I are actually looking into renting one next year, but when it comes down to it, apartments are easier living. They kind of land between dorms and houses — you still get enough space to call your own and you can eat food that isn’t entirely salt, fat and carbs, but you don’t have the added responsibilities of lawn care, or the massive amount of extra space a lot of houses have.

The price difference isn’t much and it kind of comes down to how many roommates you want to have. If you’d rather stick with just one or two, an apartment is probably a better bet. But if you’re OK with having upwards of four roommates and you like the idea of having the space a house provides, go for it.

For me, living in the dorms just wasn’t worth the loss of personal space and weight gain, but it did give me a better connection to the school. My apartment gives me space to call my own and a small enough overall space that cleaning it isn’t a full-day job. I’m not sure I’m ready to graduate to a house yet, so for now my apartment is a good place for me.