Success depends on the individual, not dorm atmosphere

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Courtesy of MCT

Your college years are often considered the beginning stages of complete independence and adulthood.

For many college students, moving into a dorm is the first taste of life without a safety net. You can come and go as you please, eat what you like and, of course, there’s no curfew.

However, with freedom and independence comes intense responsibility that can often take its toll on young adults. This newfound freedom can cost you much more than you think.

Dorm life comes with a broad range of distractions that can cause a student to fall behind and even eventually lead to academic expulsion.

In 2008, the State University of New York College at Old Westbury (SUNY) ousted 87 students from the dorms because of poor grades. The campus requires its dorm residents to adhere to a policy that insists students keep their GPAs above a 2.0.

Colleges have researched the academic patterns and obstacles of students living on campus in an attempt to discover whether there is a true correlation between dorm life and academic failure, or if it just a nasty college rumor.

The lack of boundaries and active authority figures can cause a student to lose sight of the main area of focus on a college campus which is to receive an education.

Rooming with a stranger can affect your comfort level and, consequently, your ability to focus. It is not often that college students are grouped with friends or acquaintances when they are assigned roommates, so it is highly probable you will live with someone whose habits and traits are unknown to you.

At times, roommates who are prone to talking and boisterous behavior can contribute to a disruptive environment that makes studying difficult.

Noise and disruption can also come from surroundings outside your dorm room. Dormitories are filled with young people, usually in their early to mid-twenties, who are enjoying freedom and life without rules. This can make for an unpredictable environment, complete with late-night parties and activities that are still common despite dormitory noise regulations.

Lack of privacy can also be a factor in the forming of poor study habits. Dorms are often small and bedrooms are sometimes shared by two or three people. Your roommate’s schedule may not be in tune with your own, making it difficult to allot quiet time to study and focus on academic duties.

Drugs and alcohol can also put a strain on a successful college career. Although dorms and colleges have policies regarding substance abuse, disregard for these rules is common among college students. The effects and damage of alcohol and drugs on your body and behavioral patterns are extensive. One of their many victims is your grades. Lack of sleep and concentration that comes from excessive drinking and drug use can take away from your ability to study and focus on school work.

Campuses across the nation have conducted studies arguing both the negative and positive effects of dorm life on students’ grades.

Many studies have been done to debunk the myth that dorm life can ruin a student’s GPA.

In 2008, the Collegian, Fresno State University’s campus newspaper, published an article stating the correlation between on-campus housing and a high GPA.

The Collegian article discussed the advantages to sharing an environment with other students, one being that it can help you form good study habits. Campus living also allows you to have easy access to academic resources like faculty offices, libraries, and classrooms.

Although studies have offered valid points for both arguments, solid evidence has yet to solve this academic urban legend.

What can be determined is that academic success is a personal accomplishment based on your own habits and decisions. You can enjoy the luxuries of living on your own as well as make responsible decisions in regard to your education.


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