Living on campus is an intrinsic part of being a student for many. Unknown to many who are not experiencing it first hand, living on campus has it’s perks:
Freedom. Learning vital life skills.
A chance to have that much-coveted freedom in our hands, a chance to step into a new life and get that first taste of adulthood. This is how most Bangladeshi students anticipate living on campus- when our strict desi parents are finally forced to loosen their grip on us at least a little bit.
This is where life challenges us for the first time and we are compelled to take care of ourselves. We learn survival techniques like keeping the places fit for living, making daily meal arrangements, cleaning, doing laundry and whatnot. We start managing our own finances and day-to-day spending. Many feel compelled to start earning to some extent.
Beating the Traffic (and not risking your life everyday just to get to class)
Because of the hectic traffic situation in our country, living in the dorm became my only choice despite living in Dhaka. The regular commute from Mirpur to Dhanmondi drained me of all my energy and I had absolutely none left for other activities throughout the day. By the end of the year, realized I had to make the best of the situation and start using my dorm privileges.
With the regular traffic made even worse by the construction of Metro Rail, a friend of mine starts for her university at 5:30 am when there is barely any sunlight. She describes her regular commutes from Narayanganj to Mirpur Cantonement as almost a hellish experience, saying “There is no direct mode of public transportation from my house to MIST. MIST has at least 7-8 buses of its own but those become full to the brim way before they reach my stop. If I opt for it, I usually have to stand very close to the exits. This one time, I almost slipped while the bus hit the brakes and could have been in a serious accident if another student hadn’t grabbed my arm just in time.”
What could be more convenient than just living where I spend most of my time anyway?
Having time to be involved in club activities
You can join more club activities with all the time and energy that you are saving by avoiding traffic. Club activities are considered an integral part of the university learning process. This enables students to gain something apart from bookish knowledge and enrich their portfolio.
These serve as platforms where we also get to get acquainted with seniors and juniors alike as well as students from other disciplines to share a common ground with. It helps them hone their skills in their respective fields of interest and somewhat prepares them for their careers to come.
Experiencing cultural festivals in a whole new way
Dorms have always actively arranged all the cultural festival celebrations on campus. Whether it’s drawing graffiti all over the campus grounds during the celebration of Bengali new year or slaving in the common rooms drawing murals on earthenware, students at MIST have been seen out an about even till 4 am before dawn just to make sure the campus is ready for the big day.
It might be hard work but the excitement of staying up and out in the street with all the friends and the feeling of satisfaction after seeing their own hard work come to fruition the next day is unparalleled.
Help around every corner
Having someone to go to for help with studies at almost any time of the day. Those who prefer to stay at home most of the time choose to stay at the dorms before an important exam or to work on an assigned project or even for thesis research. These often require working very late into the night with other member of the team and being able to stay at one place makes that much more convenient.
”Our classes are not held at a stretch. We often have an 8am class and then a 4pm class and we need to grab some lunch in between. Buying lunch at the cafeteria on a regular basis burns a hole in many student’s pockets. ”
Being able to rest in between classes
While discussing this issue, Irin, a student from North South University brought another predicament into light, ”Our classes are not held at a stretch. We often have an 8am class and then a 4pm class and we need to grab some lunch in between. Buying lunch at the cafeteria on a regular basis burns a hole in many student’s pockets. Also, many do not habitually like to eat fast food. The situation is quite the struggle for them.” She goes on to say,” These huge time gap serves absolutely no purpose because neither can we get any work done, nor can we get any rest or shut-eye.
(For many) Living somewhere beautiful
Dorms are situated within the grounds of beautiful campuses; it is a rare chance to live close to nature. How many in this day and age are lucky enough to wake up to the chirping of birds and savor the smell of cut grass in the morning? How many have a daily view of a serene lake, or can just grab a good book to read by the view right out of their bedroom balcony? Many people living on campus can vouch for the beautiful scenery I’m talking about.
At the end of the day, what matters are the new but unbreakable bonds created between one’s roommates and learning to compromise. We learn to improvise and create our own little celebrations with late night movies along with cha and chanachur parties. Being away from home gives us a chance to appreciate the small good things in life, stop taking them for granted. Living on campus can be a rewarding experience.
Here’s to those never-ending addas and the tong er cha. Here’s to the fraternities never to be forgotten.