Scattered amongst the bustling campus and connected by the yellow brick road are the University’s unsung dorm halls. Jester halls stand strong and tall. The Honors Quad, on the other side of campus, is humble with a hint of birds chirping and proximity to Littlefield Cafe on a vibrant spring morning.
Students move out of dorms for a reason. And yes, I agree, there are limitations to dorm life. Even so, students should consider living on campus for its many advantages, such as proximity to organizations, classes, dining and the greater community.
“Most of the benefits involve proximity to my classes, which all happened to be fairly close to my dorm being a liberal arts major,” said psychology freshman Salem Black. “(Additionally), proximity to my friends and organizations. I’m less than a five-minute walk away from the Student Activity Center, less than a three-minute walk from the people I see almost every day and the dining hall is right across the street.”
For one, there are three illustrious dining halls: Kinsolving, J2 and Jester City Limits. Oh, and don’t forget about the Jester Wendy’s (also known as “Jendy’s”), the numerous coffee options and the Union’s plethora of food selections for indulgence after a busy day.
The proximity to these dining options has a number of benefits. During the hustle and bustle of peak campus times, they are a great way to find UT’s community. Remember orientation?
These options are also convenient for students throughout campus since they are within walking distance. Dining selections fit tight schedules, eliminating the need for grocery shopping, meal prepping and dishwashing.
Additionally, a substantial part of the college experience is joining organizations. Clubs, from dance groups to cultural heritage organizations, are significant in forming relationships, cultivating leadership skills and achieving new heights with a niche interest. As they meet throughout the wide-spread campus, these groups are more accessible and convenient to on-campus students.
Residential life also provides a smooth transition experience for students coming out of high school and towards adulthood. For many students, college is a first-hand experience of independence. The network of resident assistants, counselors and staff supports the nature of these newfound challenges.
“Dorm(ing) really is this middle ground between high school and living out on your own,” said English freshman Trinity Ngo. “You eat at the dining halls, so people are cooking for you. You’re surrounded by peers (who) are all of the same age. You’re living on campus, so it’s really easy to get to your classes. It’s a good way to get eased into what it’s like to be independent.”
The student-focused aspect of dorm life fosters academic enrichment and success strategies. Physically, study rooms and reliable internet connections are important to a student’s academic success. Socially, the proximity of students who may share the same classes or similar core coursework contributes to student success.
“I definitely think I benefited greatly from this experience,” Black said. “I would not have wanted to go to college as a first-year and not live in a dorm. Just because it’s when you think of college you think of dorm life and living with your friends and having fun in your dorm.”
Residence halls are quintessential to the University’s first-year experience. Not only does your involvement and familiarity on campus substantially increase, but the opportunities to meet who you’ll call your best friend for the next four years do as well.
Dorms may be infamous to some, but consider the numerous benefits. Students, consider living in on-campus housing.
Originally published March 23, 2023, in The Daily Texan
By Tommy Wan
Graphic by Sharon Chang