The pros and cons of living at home during freshman year

Living at home may cut costs, but how does it affect student involvement on campus?

Because of the hefty price tag associated with living on ASU's campuses, some students may decide to live at home to cut costs. But sometimes, this diminishes their involvement on campus. 

However, others argue that commuter students can feel like a part of ASU as long as they make the time and put in effort to do so. 

According to the ASU housing webpage, the price to live on campus ranges between $4,000 and $10,000 depending on the campus and type of room, which is sometimes too much for some freshmen. 

Griffin Monfette-Baker, a freshman studying environmental engineering, lives at his parents' house this year. He said the decision was mostly based on finances, but that he feels like he's missing out on what ASU's campuses have to offer. 

“I feel like I am missing out on opportunities to socialize, opportunities to make study connections, and it takes a lot of time to commute back and forth when I could be doing other things,” Monfette-Baker said.

Monfette-Baker also said he wants to get involved in a club, but it is hard for him to find the time to participate due to the distance of his commute. 

"Ideally I would join an engineering club of some sort, but the only way to do that would be to commute,” he said. “(Commuting) can take at least two hours a day, especially if I have to go from home to campus more than once. With traffic it can take 35 to 45 minutes, without traffic it takes about 20 minutes."

Monfette-Baker also said he initially expected that he would study more efficiently at home, but so far that has not been the case. 

“School is a lot better for studying," he said. "You'd think home would be a great place for studying, but (for me) it's just a giant distraction. There’s pets and parents and people and a TV. There's just no quiet place to study.”

The Center for Off-Campus and Commuter Student Services at ASU aims to help off-campus and commuter students get involved on campus.

The center's website also features a guide on how to find off-campus housing, which was published by The State Press. It also has a list of steps for students to follow when they decide to move into off-campus apartments. 

Tyler Jafary, a business sustainability freshman, said cost was a major factor behind his decision to live at home. 

"I live close to campus and I didn't want to spend that much money on a dorm,” he said. “Also, I got a car for my graduation, and I wanted to use it."

Despite not physically living on campus, Jafary said he is still getting the full college experience.

“I'm at ASU most of the day and I have a bunch of friends that live in the dorms, so I've gotten to meet their (community assistants) and talk with them," he said. "(My friends) are always telling me what's going on at ASU so I can just drive by.”

Jafary also said having a quiet place to study at his house is a benefit of living off campus.

Peter Magtibay, a medical studies freshman who lives on campus, said he thinks it's important to live on campus as an underclassman, but only if a student or a student's family has means to pay for it.  

“Both of my older siblings went to ASU and stayed in the dorms," he said. "I knew that coming into college I wanted to the full experience, which for me does include living in the dorms."

Magtibay said doing homework alone in a house would be much more difficult because of various distractions available within arm's reach.

"I think it's easier to get homework done in the dorm because you are with students who are taking the same classes as you who could help you in your academic studies,” he said. “Plus professors are close by if you have any questions."

Magtibay said those who commute may miss out on the many campus functions that happen every day, and therefore might feel uncomfortable at big ASU events.

"I think something even as simple as a football game would be hard as a commuter, I wouldn't really have a group of friends I could sit with, and also having to find parking would be difficult," he said.


Reach the reporter at ajhowar6@asu.edu and follow @andrew_howard4 on Twitter.

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