Living situations often determine a student’s college experience

In 2018 Welcome Titans Guide, Lifestyle
Illustration showing different housing locations of students around CSUF

For 19-year-old criminal justice major John Risenhoover, on-campus housing at Cal State Fullerton certainly has its perks.

“If I lived at home I would have a long commute, two and a half hours,” said Risenhoover, who is from Bakersfield. “If I was off campus, like in the UCA’s, it would be a little bit different because I would have to find more food for myself and probably bring in my own furniture.”

Risenhoover said he and his parents decided that on-campus housing was easiest because it included a meal plan, along with other amenities.

Campus housing can create a sense of community for its residents and while also allowing students to develop personal and academic relationships with each other and faculty. Risenhoover said he has made friends in housing and can meet them without worrying about conflicts with his schedule.

For many students, living in housing on or around campus might seem like a luxury, but sometimes it can be a challenge.

“I definitely live in the party apartments, so it can be pretty loud and crazy on Thursday nights,” said 21-year-old cinema and television arts major Amber Nguyen.

Nguyen currently lives in University House, where she walks to her classes in the sometimes sweltering heat to avoid parking conditions in the complex itself and so she doesn’t have to pay for parking on campus. 

Although her living experience has forced her to become a regular pedestrian, Nguyen said living in University House has helped shape her time in college because it gave her the opportunity to meet so many new people.

“I do think that my college experience would be very different if I commuted or if I lived elsewhere,” Nguyen said.

If she had decided to commute, Nguyen said she probably would have been very focused on school rather than her social life. If this were the case, she said, each day would be spent driving to school, attending classes and then driving home without a single thought about meeting up with friends.

Ashley Brooksbank, a 20-year-old psychology major who commutes from Aliso Viejo, said she has always been envious of her friends’ college experiences living closer to campus, and would herself live on campus if she ever had the opportunity.

Like Nguyen and Risenhoover, Brooksbank thinks her college experience could be enhanced if her current living situation was different.  

“I could space my classes out more as opposed to getting them all back to back,” Brooksbank said. “I tried to fit my classes into two days because going up there and back, it takes a lot of gas.”

Although Brooksbank said she is envious of people who live closer to campus, she realizes that being able to see her family on a daily basis is a privilege those far away from home don’t have, and one that she sometimes takes for granted.

Not needing to pay monthly rent and having a room and bathroom all to herself are also things that Brooksbank finds to be particularly appealing.

“Living at home and commuting can sometimes suck, but it does have its rewards,” Brooksbank said.

With any living situation, inevitably there are problems that can accompany it, but no matter where a student lives they still experience and adapt to the give-and-take lifestyle that is college. 


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