Commuting means something different for everyone. For some, commuting to work, school or practice might mean a 30-minute drive from home; for others, it means a two-hour bus ride across town.
Most student-athletes at the University of Utah live in the dorms for their first year. It’s not required to do so, but it is highly encouraged. I think this is a great idea because commuting to classes and practices becomes less challenging when living on campus. It gives student-athletes like myself a chance to familiarize themselves with their new home.
Staying on campus for my freshman year made the transition of living off campus later a whole lot better. When I lived in the dorms, it was easy to get to know my teammates, who were also my roommates, as well as other student-athletes. We were able to travel around campus together, and, of course, get lost together while searching for our classes.
According to Reasons You’re Required to Live on Campus Your First Year of College, a resource blog for parents and students by ThoughtCo, living in residence halls more than the convenience of classes.
“Residential life teaches many important life skills: resolving conflicts with a roommate, suitemates, and/or students on your hall; learning to live with people who may be quite different from you; building a living and learning community; and so on,” the article stated.
Once a student-athlete completes their first year of college, they may move off campus if they wish to do so, and that’s exactly what I did. My commute to school and practices has become more challenging because of the longer distance, but I am dedicated to my studies and my team, so I don’t ever let it interfere with my day-to-day routine. Since I don’t own a car, I have to give myself extra time to catch public transportation, ride my bike or walk. I have lost count of how many times I’ve waited in the blistering cold at a bus stop in order to make it to my 6:30 a.m. workout — the joys of living away from the campus. Now as a senior, I have memorized the UTA TRAX schedule and bus stop numbers to various locations because taking public transportation has become a significant part of my daily commuting routine. I would argue that living on campus made traveling easier, but I’ve also enjoyed having my own bedroom off campus.
Even for those who aren’t student-athletes, I think living on campus the first year of school makes the commuting experience less stressful. In the past 10 years, the University of Utah has increased its housing capacity from 1,200 to 3,500 people, according to the Deseret News. Last fall over 2,000 first-year students elected to live on campus — a record number. These stats show the increase in awareness of the benefits a student can receive from living on campus. Living off campus has its perks, but it’s beneficial to live in the dorms at some point during college.