Throughout my time living at USQ’s Residential Colleges, I have seen many fellow residents and friends leave and move into a share house because they wanted to become more independent. However, many students decide to do this without looking at their options and the benefits of remaining on college. If you happen to be weighing up the pros and cons of living on college against moving out with mates, here are some fantastic reasons that you should consider before you commit to the move:
When I first moved onto college, I felt very nervous about having to make new friends. However, I was put into a comfortable environment where within minutes all my new friendships had started to form, and today, I have friendships that will last a lifetime! Even better, some of those friends were a part of the Study Abroad program, meaning I now have strong friendships with people all over the world. Although some of my friends have now left to go back overseas, I get to live with and see the rest of my friends every day on college.
Continuing to stay on college allows you to live with many different friends and, if you organise it well, you can request to live in the same block as your friends, meaning you live right next door to each other! When you live on college, you can also make your own budget, have your own responsibilities and come and go as you please.
When you live in a share house, you may not be allowed to have many roommates or there may already be residents living in the house that you don’t know and might not get along with. Even if you live with friends in a share house, there can be less freedom and added pressure because you have shared expenses and are all responsible for looking after the house. Taking this on board plus full-time study can add up to a very stressful experience compared to living on college.
Throughout high school, I always felt supported by my peers and staff. From what I had heard about the responsibility of university, I thought that this help would disappear, but this was not the case! USQ’s Residential Colleges hold academic nights through the week for all areas of study, which means you can join a great study environment to collaborate with peers and do your assignments and coursework with students doing the same degree. Personally, I found the support of the people I live with really good whenever I was lacking motivation, stuck on an assessment task or needed help. Colleges also offer a lot of support from the Resident's Advisors and other members of the team.
Living on college, I can also study in my room, where it is quiet and I am not disturbed. This may not be the case within a share house. Moving off campus into a share house does increase the possibility that your housemates may not be studying, or may not respect your study time by playing loud music or having a lot of parties. With a full-time study load, consistent interruption to study periods can be very annoying and can impact your results dramatically.
Studies have shown that 70% of school leavers do not continue sporting activities once they graduate high school (Marsh, 2013). While I didn’t believe this at first, I soon came to realise that I did indeed drop my physical activity after school. However, living on college gave me an opportunity to get involved in physical activity again with no cost! The Residential Shield, which is comprised of a big variety of sporting events, allows all residents to play sports for their college, creating a great social and competitive atmosphere. Personally, I am a very sporty person and have absolutely loved getting together with all my friends and playing sport. When living in a share house, you would have to join a gym or a sporting club, which can cost a lot of money.
For those who are not so sporty but still want to be social, the Resident Student Committee have that covered as well, with countless social gatherings including student nights, semi-formals and formals that provide the opportunity for all residents to come together for a great night. Having an active social life can be done when living at a share house, but organising a time to see friends can be annoying and then there is the cost that comes with dinners or parties. At college, there are less costs and stresses to worry about in regards to organising your social life.
The flexibility of living on college is what I believe to be the thing most people overlook when deciding to move off college. A lot of residents choose to leave because they want to become more independent, however, after recent renovations, there are now many living options for residents to choose from. You can take your pick from a totally stress-free option that includes catering of 21 meals per week, a lunch and dinner catering for 14 meals a week, another with 7 catered meals per week, or a fully self-catered option, and every combination in between. Colleges gives all residents the choice to either not worry about meals at all or the opportunity to cook for yourself, as if you were in a share house.
After living on college for a year or semester, it is understandable that people may want to move off and become more independent. However, with the chance to be just as independent but still have the social and academic support and opportunities that make colleges such a great place to live, it’s definitely a good idea to explore all your options before making a move!
If you’re trying to choose between a private rental or share house accommodation and staying on as a long-term college resident, take the time to chat to the Res Colleges team and explore your options. If you decide you’re ready to make a move, be prepared and avoid these common housemate issues.