North Texas Daily

Student living is a scam and it’s just not that fun

Student living is a scam and it’s just not that fun

January 28
00:44 2016

Preston Mitchell | Staff Writer

@presto_mitch

It’s no secret that student living sucks on college campuses across the country.

Be that as it may, the issue hits home here at North Texas, as the university requires incoming freshmen to live in dorm halls. While the exclusivity of these matters makes the campus more accessible for newcomers, it’s also a heavily flawed system that is, in many ways, more harmful than beneficial.

First of all, the expenses of student living cannot be ignored. On UNT’s own admissions site, it deduces that the average annual cost for on-campus students is $22,826 per semester. It is foolish for such a large chunk of change to go toward housing when many students chose UNT for the supposed “economic sense” that is supposed to come with choosing a public institution.

It is especially unfortunate that the run-of-the-mill halls such as Clark, Kerr and Maple are the most convenient and cost-effective for two or more people at about $4,900 per year. If one was to set their eyes on more upscale halls such as Victory or Santa Fe, the cost is over $5,400 they’ll have to pay out of pocket.

Despite the supposed variety of choices that stem from choosing a more expensive dorm, at the end of the day, it’s still half-baked dorm food and more often than not a clinical cardboard box for a room.

Another dilemma the housing system forces upon us is the dreaded meal plan. In theory, such a resource is a great idea, as it provides campus-based students easy access to food options. Nonetheless, this system adds more money to the college’s pocket as freshmen are left to suffer in long lines, loud environments (they are freshman, after all) and less than enthusiastic workers.

My experiences alone with Bruce’s over-salted spaghetti and Kerr’s tasteless pizza will forever be etched into the fabric of my mind.

In regard to the living conditions, the common double-roommate scenario is also off-putting. Whether the hall itself is pleasant or unusual, student living often forces two people, their lives and belongings into an uncomfortably small space. Not only does this design invade privacy by default, it also means that freshmen pay regularly for nights of snoring, farting and deceptively loud “rendezvous.”

Freshman must succumb to sharing germs in the shower. It means that music tastes will clash for nine long months. It means walking in at inopportune moments!

Horror stories are not legend around these parts: they’re reality. As students we should urge the university to either take action to improve dorm life or remove the policy that requires freshman to live on campus.

The older halls should have as much opportunity and zest as their newer counterparts do. The food should be much more pleasant to chew and, most importantly, the living quarters need to start renovations at the square area.

Working toward a better beginning starts a better college experience for all parties involved.

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9 Comments

  1. Mandy McDaniel
    Mandy McDaniel January 28, 15:58

    I lived in Kerr last year as a freshman and I was lucky to be one of the ones that did not have any water damage from the “Great Kerr Flood”. We also experienced the elevators being out of service multiple times in A tower where I lived (the one that houses MOST of the Kerr residents) and also a few doors down there was a room with septic backup. I hated it. No space to have anything, no place to store food for when the cafeterias were closed, and even the kitchenette area was useless because half the time the water in the sink was not working. Then there’s what happened before this new year when Rawlins Hall is apparently THE only residence hall that is up to fire code and has a stove/oven in the kitchenette. Apparently the rest of the halls had theirs just removed because “it’s too expensive to renovate them”. So unless you can deal with microwaving everything I guess those residents are just SOL which sucks. So much money is being paid to live in a small box of hell when it is exponentially cheaper to just go live in an apartment (which student apartments suck as well.)

    Reply to this comment
  2. UNT Cajun
    UNT Cajun January 28, 19:18

    1. What is a “dorm hall”?
    2: $22,826 is the Cost of Attendance, which accounts for tuition, fees, housing, transportation, and dozens of other expenses related to attending college, up to and including toilet paper.
    3. I recommend becoming engaged with your roommate, joining a student organization, and enjoying your college experience. You can see being in the same room as someone else as your worst privileged nightmare, or you can seize the opportunity to learn about people different than you and appreciate the fact that you go to a great university in the best state in the best country in the world.

    Reply to this comment
    • Collin H.
      Collin H. August 03, 02:22

      1. A dormitory hall is a hall within a dormitory which is assigned to one or more RA’s.
      2. The author is expressing that the cost is extortionate and unfair, which is a very reasonable position. The exact housing, parking, and meal plan prices can easily be searched with a pretty nifty search engine called “Google”.
      3. Just because you may have an extroverted nature does not mean everyone else functions just like you. Some people NEED moments of privacy to be healthy. Some people have good reasons to distrust strangers among their possessions. Some people would rather mitigate the stress that comes with living with a noisy, disgusting idiot against their will and at their own expense.
      PS I feel sorry for you if you have actually never been outside of this state (or country for that matter) and had a chance to experience real culture.

      Reply to this comment
  3. butthurt
    butthurt January 28, 22:44

    You pretty much described my dorm experience in Bruce Hall, and I loved every damn second of that place. If you can’t see that it’s not the building, but the memories created in a shared environment, then maybe you didn’t leave your dorm room.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Dormhalls
    Dormhalls January 29, 01:22

    Becoming involved in the community in my residence hall saved me from dropping out of college. By surrounding myself with supportive, caring people in my hall I managed to earn a 3.75 and a 4.0 these last two semesters. When I was a freshman, I used to think like you. Having grown and learned just how important my involvement is in my college experience has completely re-shaped who I am as a person. So, I hope that there are RAs, FAs, HAs, SAs, HDs, etc here to read this -because what you do matters whether or not this guy wants to believe so. Continue doing what you do, because without people like you, I wouldn’t be on my way to graduation.

    Reply to this comment
  5. This article is garbage....
    This article is garbage.... January 29, 01:32

    I lived in 3 residence halls my entire time at UNT, and I’m glad I did. Some of my BEST memories or closest friends were made through housing. If it wasn’t for living on campus, my experience at UNT would’ve been bleak.

    Whomever wrote this is not only a terrible writer, but also horrible at research. Maybe if you actually talked to people living on campus for more than a semester or 2, you’d see how great they are.

    Your entire building becomes like family after awhile.

    Reply to this comment
  6. MikeOfClarkHall
    MikeOfClarkHall January 29, 06:59

    I lived in Clark Hall for 4 years, as did many close friends. We were placed in those shoebox rooms with people far different from us. 30+ years later we’re still all close friends and go back and meet in Denton once in a while. Learning to get along with and become friends with people who differ from you is a life changing experience. Maybe times have changed now. We hung out in the TV room and Piano room together, played volleyball in TH courtyard until 3 am, created our own frisbee golf course. Many if us met our future spouses there. But now, we worry, that the students who are our kids age sit in their rooms with their technology and watch netflix alone. There’s a whole world of life changing people surrounding you if you look up from your tablet. The cafeteria food was pretty terrible and we still laugh about it, but we survived it and the occasional food fight. My friends and I see our times in dorms and apartments of Denton as some of our best days.

    Reply to this comment
  7. MikeOfClarkHall
    MikeOfClarkHall January 29, 20:18

    I feel bad for Preston, I truly do. A group of young people from all over the world and different backgrounds came together at Clark Hall from 1980-84. There were others before us and others after, but I can only speak for our group. We were very different people, from different backgrounds, parts of the countries, religious backgrounds, political views and more. But, for the time we were in the dorm together we were family. We helped each other. We tried to understand each other. We slept with each other.

    How we were put together is a mystery. No sane person would would pair some of these roommate combinations. But we made it work as best we could. We’d pull each other out the trash room when one of us was drunk after a party. We’d help each other study. We created a Frisbee Golf course long before there was one. We guarded the secret of one of our friends was from Iran during the hostage crisis and went with his story of being from India. We accepted and tried to better understand each other. We played intramural sports as the Clark Kents in Superman t-shirts. We disagreed with each other and stayed friends. Many relationships developed into marriages. Thirty plus years later we still occasionally gather in Denton to reminisce. We often hated the cafeteria food but tolerated. We played pranks on our sweepmates and expected the same in return. We learned to live with people who were different than us.

    Maybe things were different in a pre-laptop, pre-Netflix, pre-Tablet age. We spent our time in the TV Room and Lobby and IHOP and Texas Pickup. We watched the final episode of M*A*S*H together in lawn chairs. We cried together and laughed together. We still cry over friends, like Diana Hansen, who we lost during those days.

    We see the time we spent in college, in the dorms and cafeteria as some of our best times. I am so sorry that the writer has not learned how to embrace the community around him.

    Reply to this comment
    • Collin H.
      Collin H. August 03, 02:02

      There is honestly no real community to embrace. A lot has happened since the 80s and people are clearly more distrustful and divided than ever. Very few youths even expect anything from life. They’re typically going to school without any particular goal in mind. I know only a handful of people who actually have serious hobbies.

      Reply to this comment

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