Students face problems with distance, academics living off campus

Rex Santus

As the harsh winter months approach, some students are readying themselves for long, cold hikes to campus.

Jordan Mack and Anthony Garcia are two students who decided to move from on-campus housing to off-campus apartments this year — but neither of them has a car.

“It’s a pain getting to and from campus,” said Mack, sophomore theater studies major. “There is a bus, but it’s not very reliable. The weather is always a pain because it’ll be raining or freezing or something else terrible.”

Mack lives at an apartment on River Street — near the Kent Free Library — and works at Kohl’s in Stow. She said getting herself to and from work has been the most challenging adjustment.

“Going to work, the bus will be running like 10 minutes behind, so I’ll be running into work just to clock-in on time,” Mack said. “It always seems like the bus is ahead or behind schedule, so if you aren’t at the bus stop when it randomly shows up, you miss it.”

Garcia, who lives in Eagle’s Landing apartments, said he agreed living off campus without a car has been a difficult adjustment.

“We have only two parking passes for our apartment, and we have four roommates,” said Garcia, junior electronic media major. “One time, one roommate’s car was at (his family) home, and one roommate’s car was broken down, so we couldn’t go anywhere. Usually, I have to bum rides from friends.”

Garcia said students should take the time to pick a living arrangement that works for them.

“Really, it’s a matter of when you’re older, you outgrow the dorms,” Garcia said. “It’s only about a five-minute walk to campus from my apartment, so it’s not too bad for me — walking to class. Make sure when you move off campus that it’s a reasonable walking distance.”

David Taylor, assistant director of residence services, said many students may also experience a decline in grades once they move off campus.

“We have a two-year, on-campus living requirement, and the reason we do is based on academic success,” Taylor said. “Our goal is to graduate students, and if you’re going to be more academically successful living on campus, we want you to be that way.”

Many students suffer academically because of apathy or a lack of convenient access to on-campus student resources, Taylor said.

“If you are on campus, resources are closer and at your disposal,” Taylor said. “Some of the residence halls will have an academic advisor in their building. Any student living off-campus can use these resources, but the issue is if you’re not seeing them or walking by them everyday … you might not be as prone to take advantage of them.”

Garcia said he does not believe moving off campus harmed his academic performance.

“It’s quieter where I live,” Garcia said. “It’s easier for me to settle down and study. In the dorms, there is always someone making noise or something going on.”

Although his motivation has not suffered, Garcia said living off campus is not a complete improvement.

Mack agreed her commitment to her schoolwork has not suffered but said she was unsure if it was a good decision to move without a car.

“I wouldn’t say I regret it, but it has its difficulties,” Mack said. “I’m getting used to it. There are always new challenges, especially with it being winter, but only time will tell.”

Contact Rex Santus at [email protected].