Clearing up misconceptions about campus living


Photo credit: Krista Daly, News Editor

As a dorm resident, there are a number of things I find CSUN students presupposing about the residence halls. Before you decide to either stay at the dorms or leave, make sure you don’t believe one or more of these misconceptions.

The Resident Advisors are out to get you
RAs are obligated to enforce some rules to the best of their abilities. No smoking within 30 feet of a building, no underage drinking, and no disturbances after quiet hours are common courtesies that are implemented. However, this doesn’t mean they’re going to spy on you 24/7 to ensure you’re very obedient. What’s important to them is that the residents are not being disturbed and are enjoying their respective college experiences.
“The RAs are actually here as a resource, to housing and to the residents,” said RA Rayshaun Miner.
Your RA is trained to help you enjoy and be successful through your college experience. Although they may tell you to keep it down, they’re not there to put a damper on your party.

The dorms are very expensive
Senior Pete Torrez shares an apartment off campus with four people, which costs him $487 per month plus about $25 per month for utilities. This includes some parking spaces and use of a fitness center and recreation room. In comparison, one can live in the CSUN apartments for $669 per month with a fully furnished kitchen. Without a kitchen, it’s $537 per month. The suites, which don’t include kitchens or living rooms, are $517 per month. Although it can seem like much, this price includes more than just a living space. The rooms are fully furnished with beds, couches, desks, a table, chairs, closets and balcony. Rooms with a kitchen feature a refrigerator, oven and stove. Utilities and cable are also included. In addition, your RA—or, in most buildings, your Academic Mentor—can help you succeed. There are many events and resources at the residence halls of which you can take advantage. There is a community center open 24/7, study rooms, conference services, games to check out, and free events about every week.
Also, living off campus can cost you in other ways including  commuting time and money. Even if don’t live too far, parking and traffic mean that living off campus can cost you an hour or two a day. This time could be spent doing something more productive.

People will break into your dorm and steal your stuff
Some residents who live on the bottom floor accidentally leave the doors to their balcony open, presenting the opportunity to get their belongings stolen. However, the majority of thefts are due to students being too trusting of the people they let into their room. Anyone who is let into a room has the ability to quickly pocket small items, and leave before you realize it’s missing.

The gates to the residence halls are closed at night to annoy residents

The gates surrounding the residence halls are closed from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., with guards at the two open gates checking IDs to make sure everyone who enters is a resident. Some wonder why they do this starting at 7 p.m., when a better time to commit a mugging would be at 3 a.m. when many people are asleep. Instead, this is to keep people from partying in the complex. Originally, when anyone could come in or out, people who were not residents or even students would use the residence halls as a place to party and drink, waking and annoying the residents. Closing the gates from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. means partying has to be taken elsewhere, and disturbances and drunken crimes are greatly reduced.

There’s nothing to do in the dorms
All the RAs put on programs, and there’s at least one thing going on every week during the core of the school year. There are mixers, movie nights, pancake parties, pajama jams, and informational meetings,  most of which involve free food. Other staff also put on events, including the professional staff and the academic mentors. These events are designed to get you to make the most of your college experience and meet other residents and form community.

Before you move in or out, or decide that the dorms are just not worth it, ignore the gossip and keep these debunked misconceptions in mind. Living in the dorms is a truly rewarding college experience, and totally worth a try.