Thomas Birch investigates that age-old question; should you live on or off campus?
There is nothing quite like the university experience. From attending lectures and studying at ungodly hours to making lifelong friends and discovering your passions, university can be one of the best times of your life.
One of the experiences unique to university students is the option to live on-campus. As the University of Newcastle offers award-winning student housing and with mid-year applications now open for on-campus accommodation at UON, let’s take a moment to look at the pros and cons of living on-campus verses living off-campus.
Residents at UON form a close-knit community and third year Bachelor of Engineering student, James Sinclair (who has lived on campus at Callaghan since 2014), can attest to this.
“My favourite part of living on campus is the community that is fostered by on-campus living.
“Living on campus provides you with ample opportunities.
“Opportunities to meet people and to hang out, play sport and study with them,” James said.
However, this sense of community can sometimes be a double-edged sword for the easily distracted student, as James came to realise.
“For similar reasons, living on-campus can also be a large distraction.
“For people without time management skills, such as myself, this often presents a problem and grades can dip,” he said.
While the opportunity to hang out with other students living on-campus has the potential to distract you from your studies, UON provides residents with support in the form of professional staff working with the Residential Leadership Team. The team offer students living on-campus an integrated ResLife program, offering strong academic and social support while also providing a wide variety of fun activities to cater for all tastes.
“Living on-campus means living in a community of 200 or more people,” James said.
“Some of these people you may not meet, some of them you may see here and there, but each semester there is usually a group of people that you will spend a lot of time with and may end up knowing for years.
“It’s a lot of fun.”
UON Student Living accommodation offer a variety of options to suit each student’s lifestyle and budget, including catered, semi-catered and self-catered living.
“My accommodation gives me my own room in a shared apartment,” James said.
“Apartments can be five, six or ten share.
“The toilets, kitchen and living room are all shared; communication skills come in handy.
“Residents have the option to pay to have dinners readily available at the dining hall from 5-7:30pm, which can often be a constraint on your evenings.
“On the other hand, this means you rarely eat dinner alone.”
Residents also have the opportunity to choose living spaces to preference gender, lifestyle, alcohol-free, mature age and those studying Honours or higher-research degrees, however these preferences are subject to availability.
One of the most convenient things about living on-campus is the fact that you don’t have to travel very far to get to and from classes, but once again, keep focused.
“Living on-campus obviously makes the process of getting to class a lot simpler and quicker,” James said.
“However, by a similar token, it is easy to justify going home for lunch or a study break, which often leads to procrastination or other distractions.”
UON Student Living offers accommodation at Callaghan and Ourimbah campus. Homestay, an option that provides students with the opportunity to live in a home environment while studying, is a popular choice of accommodation for international students.
While it’s clear that there are many benefits to living on-campus, including having the support of a tight-knit community, what are some of the pros and cons of living off-campus?
First year Bachelor of Psychology student, Shai Whalan, believes that living off-campus has both its advantages and disadvantages.
“I live in Sydney and study at UON’s Central Coast campus,” Shai said.
“The travel can be a bit of a pain sometimes, however it’s up to the individual to use that time wisely.
“I usually study or catch up on weekly readings while on the train, so if you look at it from that perspective it’s not so bad.”
For students looking for accommodation off-campus, UON has a website which provides listings of current housing vacancies that are available around campus.
“I do enjoy the freedom and my own personal space living off-campus,” Shai said.
“Sometimes rent can be pretty expensive, especially if you are renting alone, so it’s probably a good idea to share a place with a friend or two if you can.”
It’s hard to say for sure which type of accommodation is best, on or off campus. It really comes down to the individual’s needs, expectations and lifestyle preferences.
When asked what advice he would give to anyone thinking about living on-campus, James had one final thing to say:
“Have a crack, you will meet a lot more people who have good memories than ones with bad memories of their time living on-campus.”
For more information about living on-campus check out UON Student Living’s YouTube channel!
Feature Image: Screenshot, Yak TV YouTube, text added.