By Kierra Leggett

While the 2011 spring semester is not even in full swing yet, students are already looking ahead to the upcoming fall semester. These students are trying to make the decision on whether or not to continue living on campus, or partake in the joy ride that is known as off-campus living. For some, the decision is easy to make. Why would anyone want to continue living in a cramped up dorm room, with a roommate whose feet smells like a combination of sour milk and corn chips? While for others the thought of signing a lease is even more repulsing than the little bits of food that their suitemate leaves in the sink when she cleans her braces out every night. Contrary to what one may think, there are pros and cons to both living arrangements.

Obviously, one of the biggest cons (for some) of living on campus is having a roommate. While in some instances roommates get along, and can even turn out to be lifelong friends, we’ve all heard (and maybe even experienced) the horror stories. If your nightmares include coming back to your dorm room to find your roommates dirty laundry strewn across your bed, or being kept awake by your roommates loud and obnoxious phone calls, then possibly off campus living could be better suited to you. The university on the other hand, does try to accommodate students and assign them living quarters that are best suited to them. The housing application entails of questions about your study preferences, sleeping habits, and other questions to help ensure that one will be most satisfied with their assignment. Also, if you and your assigned roommate turn out to be completely incompatible, you can apply for a housing change. You are also able to request a certain roommate if you already have a particular person in mind.

Despite the inconvenience of having a roommate, living on campus gives students an overall convenience that cannot be attained living off campus, which is a definite pro. Classes are within walking distance, as is the library, gym, and dinning halls. You don’t have to deal with the constant stress of trying to find a park every time you get ready to come on to campus, also while the meals may not be exactly like mom’s home cooking, students do not have to worry about cooking dinner, or going grocery shopping as there are many places on campus to eat. On those mornings when you hit the snooze button one too many times and when you finally wake up and realize you have 15 minutes to make it to class before receiving a “0” on your midterm, you are able to slide out of your bed, rush from your dorm and be in class in 14 minutes exactly. However, living off campus by the time you make it through early morning Raleigh traffic and find a park, you’re 15 minutes too late.

Those students that prefer off-campus living typically agree in saying that one of the biggest pros of off-campus living is privacy and fewer distractions. Off-campus living allows students to close themselves off from friends and other distractions without trudging across campus to the library, or without being disturbed by a noisy roommate, or rowdy suitemates. Students do not have to lock valuables away in a trunk, nor do they have to comply with guidelines set by university housing.

On-campus or off-campus, the debate will forever live on. What works for one person may not work for another person. That being said, when considering your housing options, be sure to weigh the pros and cons of both sides and choose the option that is best for you.