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Students leave halls for houses

Vicky Moreno | Tuesday, August 30, 2011

While the University highlights dorm life as one of the greatest parts of the Notre Dame experience, many students head off campus for their senior year, choosing to live at a “home just beyond the Dome.”

Eighty percent of Notre Dame students live on campus, the Office of Residence Life and Housing (ORLH) reported. Of the 20 percent that live off campus, however, the majority are seniors.

Some seniors said residence halls monitor the rules and regulations so closely that the proper transition to adulthood and independence is only possible if they live off campus.

Former Knott resident Daniel McHugh said the best part of living off campus is the independence.

“You have to cook for yourself, clean for yourself, and find a way to get on campus,” McHugh, a senior, said. “Living off campus really facilitates the transition from student to employee. It’s a step towards being a grown up without throwing you into the real world immediately after graduation.”

Students who choose to leave their residence halls may experience more freedom, but they sacrifice certain conveniences as well.

Senior Erin Scott, formerly of Welsh Family Hall, said waking up for early classes reminded her of the benefits of living on the University’s grounds.

“I can’t wake up at 8:15 a.m. for an 8:30 a.m. class and I have to shower in the Rock when I work out between classes,” Scott said. “But luckily, four out of the six girls in our house have cars so we figure it out.”

However brief the commute from off-campus residences to class is, the inconvenience is enough to encourage students to spend their time on campus more efficiently.

Senior Chris Payne said he now gets work done earlier in the day, thanks to the distance he has to travel to get home.

“Without a home base as close by as before, I’ve ended up doing more work in between classes, even if there’s only an awkward hour,” the former Stanford resident said. “Before, I typically waited until my classes had all ended and I had eaten dinner before I really tackled assignments.”

Despite the drawbacks, Irish Row resident Danielle Duva said the benefits of off-campus living outweigh the cons.

“I miss the six-and-a-half minute walk to DeBartolo in the morning,” Duva, a senior, said. “But my own bathroom, own bedroom and the freedom is well worth the loss of a few minutes of sleep.”