Going off to college is a huge event in any person’s life. It means a lot of different things, and pretty much all of those things are extremely important. For one thing, it means continuing your education at a more intense and more serious level. It also means taking a major step from being a child dependent on his or her parents to being a self-sufficient adult in the real world. In a larger and broader sense, to most high schoolers it just means one thing: freedom. Except for students who will be attending a local college, and even for some who will be, going off to college also means living on your own for probable the first time ever, which brings up a whole host of choice and decisions that you never needed to make before.
In general, when people think of going off to college, they think of living in dorms. Dorms are basically like giant hotels on campus where students live; most dorms have 2 students each in rooms which contain two beds, two desks, and two dressers. In most situations roommates are randomly assigned, although sometimes students can pick who they want to live with. Bathrooms are usually communal and shared by floor, with a large area containing toilets, sinks, and showers at the end of the hall. This is the typical arrangement in a college dorm, and it is the typical experience that most students have when they go away to attend university after high school.
Some students, however, do not want to take part in this part of the college experience. They would prefer to live in an apartment or rent a house. The idea is that you live in more comfortable surroundings, you have a better chance to pick the roommates that you want, you do not need to worry about sharing a bathroom with so many people, and so on. This might seem like a very good idea on the surface, but there is another very important side to this story that is not being addressed. That would be, of course, the social aspect of dorm life. Living in a dorm is a social experience like no other social experience you will have. When you live in a dorm your freshman year of college, you will meet people you would otherwise have never met, and you will spend time with people in a way that would be very difficult in other circumstances. Very often you will make friends that you may have for the rest of your life, which just is not really possible in any other situation. People who opt not to stay in a dormitory when they go to college are missing out on a huge opportunity. Living in a dorm means being a part of a whole group of friends in a way that is unlike anything you have seen before. To say nothing of the convenience of being able to stay right on campus, near professors, classes, and other university resources, choosing to live in a dorm can mean a social experience that will not get anywhere else.