Dormitories: Place of Refuge for College Students


Where does one reside, if not at home, for a college education? Where is home away from home? For many, dormitories serve as a place of residence to students who may or may not be far from home while attending college. Thrill and excitement are common emotions racing through a student’s mind when first moving into a dorm for the school year. For students who have never experienced it before, this new environment may seem quite intimidating. Dorms themselves, mean nothing besides a place to sleep, go to the bathroom, and study. What then, makes them feel like home? It is the student and his or her additions to the dorm that make the room feel like home. For this reason, people become desensitized to the space they are staying in. For weeks into the school year, the occupants of the room will contemplate how they can manipulate the furniture and fashion the room to their liking. Not only will they ponder, but they will experiment and entertain themselves by moving furniture around to find the best way to settle in. One may never be content with the set up of the room; however, he or she will strive to become acquainted to the dorm in which he or she is living in.

There are critics who are quite outspoken when it comes to being anti-dormitory. Common arguments would include:  being a student at a university qualifies a student access to resources, rather than just a student who lives in dorms. Commuters share these benefits as well (Ritschel).” While this may be true of access to resources, living on campus by means of dorms is so convenient because one does not have to worry about how he or she will get to school. One will not have to forecast what time to leave the house and avoid road construction, traffic, parking spaces and the like. Commuting students often wish that they could live in dorms on campus itself to avoid any trouble they might have while traveling to and from school. Dorms, for a non-commuting student, is a safe haven for the student after a long day of classes; a place to run to and find solace. While both commuter students and students living on campus may be exhausted due to school, students who live in dorms can be more resilient and can be less stressed when it comes to schoolwork and deadlines.


One factor that plays a major role in the nature of student housing is the roommate. The other occupant of the dorm may not be the best roommate and may be the cause of tension in the living space; each tenant will find a way to tune out the other so as to cohabit in peace. If things do not work out, adjustments can be made as to changing roommates, or locations of dorms. Dorms not only serve as a place of solace, but it helps a student grow towards becoming more social. Student housing provides an avenue for students to learn more about their peers and delve into deeper friendships than just made in the classroom as students who sit next to each other. Commuter students are aware of this, and often complain as to not being able to nurture friendships further because they always have to go home.  Because of the engagement of having to go home constantly, commuter students face difficulty cultivating relationships with people, unless they spend a majority of their time with students who do live on campus. Living on campus provides students with an environment that welcomes diversity at every turn. Students from all sorts of backgrounds, skin color, interests, future plans, etc. come together by means of the dorms to attend school with ease and while having fun.

Dorms allow students to grow and expand their knowledge of the people around them. Dormitories facilitate the breaking of social and cultural barriers that hinder a student from fully developing their views about the world. “While many may disagree, dorms add to the perspective of the college experience (O’Leary-Buda).” It may be new for some, it may be old for others. However, dorms open up so many different opportunities of living a less stressed lifestyle during the college education.

Many take residential life on campus for granted. Once students get familiar with their surroundings, it takes a backseat role in their minds. They only become reminded once again of how convenient life is made by living on campus when they come into contact with commuter students. While a relationship in a class room may have it’s duration, living in dorms or student housing will prolong a relationship and cause it to bloom more than it would for a student who commutes back and forth from home to school.

Ultimately, dorms are home away from home. With decorations, and additions to the room, students will attempt to make it as homey and adequate as possible. This experience of living in the dorms may or may not be a miserable one; however, there are a select few that would complain that living in dorms does not beat commuting back and forth. It is a refuge, once a person has shaped it to mirror how they lived back home. Student are entitled to their opinions when it comes to residential life on the campus, but dorms serve the purpose of being a home away from home. This place will give a person both solace and discord. Both are present; however, it is a place that will always keep a special place in the heart of a student who stayed in dorms or student housing for the duration of college education.

Ritschel, Robert E. “Dormitories Bring Nothing But Trouble.” Chronicle Of Higher Education 55.29 (2009): B20-B21. Religion and Philosophy Collection. Web. 7 Nov. 2013.

O’Leary-Buda, Megan. College View. Web. 7 Nov. 2013