I was one of those students who decided to live at home during my entire time at college. It was definitely a choice that I had thought about extensively before making a decision. I ended up being extremely happy with my choice to stay at home, and there were a couple of reasons for that.
The first obvious reason was money. I was a student who wasn’t eligible for much in the way of financial aid. I was going to a public university that had a relatively low cost in general in the first place. The average cost for room and board at that school was a little over $8,000 per year, which was almost as much as the tuition was! I decided that it would be wise to cut the cost of my school almost in half just by staying home. Being cooped up in a tiny dorm and possibly having to share a room with a stranger didn’t appeal to me, and definitely did not sound like $8,000 worth of fun.
I have heard that living in a dorm is part of the “college experience”. I had friends that lived in dorms, and none of them ever really liked living in the dorms. They liked being away from the house or being on their own, but I never ran in to anyone that actually liked the dorm itself. At home, I got to enjoy my own room, my own bed, stable internet, and a bathroom that I didn’t have to share with someone I didn’t know. Home cooked meals, being able to be around pets, and privacy were all pretty enticing reasons for me to stay at home.
Being around my parents was definitely difficult at times, and even though sometimes I wished I was somewhere else, the same could be said for my friends. I heard horror stories of rowdy roommates, roommates who ate all of the groceries that were bought, ones who stayed up all night making noise, and much worse. I figured that I would stick at home, where I knew the ins and outs of who I was living with, rather than chance it on someone I didn’t know. As far as the rest of the college experience, living less than 20 minutes from campus allowed me to still be able to travel to school for any clubs and extracurricular activities I wanted to participate in.
I did notice that there were some downsides to living off campus, or being a commuter as they called us. Parking for classes and the possibility of being late was a recurring issue. If you got out the door late or hit traffic, there was a very real chance of not making it to class on time. Most of the time teachers were relatively understanding, but I also had my fair share of teachers who were very adamant against tardiness, and it cost me some points off of my grades. I also noticed there was a stigma surrounding students who still lived with their parents. Sometimes I felt that people thought lesser of me for not being as “independent” or “adult”. I always felt like saving that $8,000 dollars a year was more adult-like than living in a dorm just to get away from my parents.
As the result of saving some money throughout college, I was able to purchase a motorcycle in addition to the car I already had. Using some of the money I saved not only allowed me to graduate with almost no college debt, it allowed me to use some of the money I was making toward other things I wanted. The motorcycle was not only a direct result of saving so much money, but it also helped me build my credit while I was going to school, and I had a blast doing it!
Having to still live at home can sound dreadful, and at times it is, but in the long run it could be the right choice for some students. I saved over $35,000 during the course of my college career and had all the comforts of living in my own home, and that is something I will never regret.