Opinion: Why I chose to live on campus all four years of college

Boise State on campus living
Photo by Mackenzie Hudson | The Arbiter

When I first came to Boise State in 2019, I didn’t anticipate that I would stay on campus for long. Although living within the heart of university activity had its benefits, beginning the first phase of my adult life in an apartment was incredibly appealing. Less restrictions, more freedom — it was everything 18-year-old me had been dreaming about.

Now as an incoming senior, I’m here to report that, unlike most people in my year, I’m still on campus. I’ve grown to love many things campus living has to offer, and the convenience and relative affordability of Boise State housing has kept me coming back. 

By now, Boise’s explosive rental market shouldn’t be a secret to anyone. The cost to rent an apartment in Boise averages at $1,598/month, according to Keller Williams Realty Boise. Although it is possible to find housing below this average, the city’s low rental vacancy rate makes competition fierce among prospective tenants. 

By comparison, I will be paying around $1,000/month to live at Lincoln Townhomes, and I’m not charged extra for utilities like water and electricity. Not only is this cost significantly more affordable, but being on campus also eliminates the cost of commuting — an added bonus considering Boise’s high gas prices

Although I do still use my car to get from place to place, living on campus gives students access to affordable means of transportation. The Bronco Shuttle is a prime example

[Photo of Driscoll Hall on campus.]
Photo by Mackenzie Hudson | The Arbiter

For students who aren’t looking to break the bank on gas or who don’t have immediate access to a car, the Blue and Orange Routes provide free transportation to varying locations across campus, as well as throughout downtown Boise. As a student who spends a lot of money on tuition, this option is simply more affordable and convenient. 

But what I find most beneficial about living on campus is the connection to student life. I arrived at Boise State prior to the COVID pandemic, and making the transition to remote learning with minimal contact was incredibly difficult. Although living on campus didn’t give me a full sense of normalcy, being able to attend classes virtually in Albertsons Library or pass by the football stadium during my walk on the Green Belt kept me grounded in my college experience. 

I also had wonderful roommates to spend my days with during the height of the pandemic, who I met thanks to My College Roomie — the roommate matching system used by Boise State. Although I did consider finally leaving campus my senior year, I was hesitant to do so because of the uncertain roommate situation that would come with it.

If you’re anything like me, you probably hate living alone. However, I wanted to be compatible with the people I would be living with to avoid an uncomfortable, and potentially unsafe, living situation. I didn’t know how to find roommates that would mesh well with my living habits, and who I could agree with regarding rental budget and residential location. 

Students who have used My College Roomie know that the platform itself is far from perfect, but having the ability to find roommates who have similar living styles and who are guaranteed to be living in the same residential community as you makes this nerve-wracking process much easier to navigate. 

Don’t get me wrong. There are certainly some not-so-fun aspects of living on campus: the inability to light candles, being limited to Command strips when decorating your living space, having to pack and unpack your belongings every nine months. However, in my experience, the pros far outweigh the cons, and I’m excited for what my final year on campus has in store. 

Everyone has different needs and qualifications when it comes to finding a place to stay, but if you’re looking for affordability without sacrificing safety or convenience, living on campus could be the right choice for you. It certainly was for me.

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