by Ian McDonald
My name is Ian McDonald and I am a current senior here at UW Oshkosh. As someone who grew up in the Oshkosh area and chose to go to school at UW Oshkosh, I can attest that, living at home as a college student was by far one of the smartest decisions that I made. Many concerns about living at home range from how I will meet new people, to how my college experience will be altered by living with my parents. Going to college in your hometown may have some disadvantages, but if you use your resources to your advantage you will put yourself ahead of your fellow classmates.
The first four years of your adult life should not determine the next thirty by putting you in a financial bind. One of the greatest advantages to living at home or going to school in your hometown is saving money. Student loans often put a financial strain on college students. By living at home you can save money by not paying rent ($400), not paying for food ($200), and free laundry ($9), this will save you upwords of $500 a month. Not to mention, by avoiding living in the dorms you will save about the same amount by avoiding the cost of the dorm and a meal plan. You can live at home while putting money away each month so when you do decide to move out you will be financially prepared. You may think that living at home in your first year in college is an embarrassment, but what’s worse is living at home after you graduate because you’ve run out of money. You may have a degree, however this doesn’t guarantee financial stability.
One of the biggest worries that I experienced when living at home was FOMO (fear of missing out). I always questioned if going to college in my hometown and living at home was worth risking giving up the dorm life and dorm friends. I will admit, unless you have friends who live in the dorms, most of your college friendships will not be kindled in South Scott Residence Hall. By joining clubs and organizations, the absence of new companionship was quickly filled with people who had interests that were nearly identical with my own. Specifically, as a political science student I joined Student Government and made most of my friends within the Oshkosh Student Association. Because I shared close interest with people I surrounded myself with on a daily basis, I was able to round myself out in my passion for politics by building relationships with other political fanatics. There are over 180 registered clubs or organizations on campus. The chances of finding a club or organization that fit your interest are highly likely. I also played intramural sports, which is another great way to make new friends.
When going to school close to home you already have a head start by knowing where the best deals are in town, the best restaurants, events happening near you, and knowing where to shop for all your college needs. Most college students who go to college in a new location are looking for a guide to show them things around town. Again, this is how I was able to make new friends and develop new relationships. By living in your hometown you have a huge advantage over those who don’t know how to get around off campus.
In my opinion, the benefits of living at home far outweigh the benefits of going to college outside of your hometown. I have been able to make new friends, try new things, all while having little to no college debt which is allowing me to open up my options after college. At first, living at home will seem like a huge hurdle because you’re going to have to think differently when it comes to how to make new companions. However, by standing out in the crowd you will find yourself in more unique opportunities that will put you one step ahead of your peers.