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There are many reasons to choose dormitory life, but one of the most important is the chance for personal growth and development. A person can live in a dorm as a way of getting out of the family home - but not all the way out. Dormitory living is a gradual break from parents and home. Another major reason for "dorming it" is just the convenience of being on campus where the action is.

Even if you live in the area, dorming during your college years can be a rich and rewarding experience. Living in the dorms allows you to be right on campus, where access to everything (from the library and classes to social events) is much greater. You don't have to worry about transportation - unless you need to go somewhere off-campus, and getting to classes becomes only a matter of minutes, instead of hours, as it is for commuters. It's also nice, if you just happen to be at a social event (like a mixer, for example), and feel the need to get some sleep right away, to be able to be in your room in a matter of minutes. And you don't even have to worry if your ride left without you or that the car won't start.

There is life in the dorms, or residence halls, which is a more appropriate title, since people not only sleep but live in them. There is always something to do and someone to share it with, if you want to. Being on a floor is like being part of a family - very strong friendships grow, and there is always someone there when you need them. That includes the staff RAs (resident assistants who live on the floors to make sure things run smoothly), housing coordinators, etc. who are really there to make things better for you. Living with 20 other people on a floor may take a little getting used to, but after all, who expects to adjust right away? It takes time to adjust to different types of people, noise and different lifestyles. You also have to learn to adjust to your roommate - if you choose one.

Another aspect is that you can become much more tolerant of lifestyles and people with whom you would never choose to live with on your own. You learn to deal with and relate to other people, even if you don't particularly like them, in order to keep the environment relatively harmonious. You can learn many things from the people you have to live with.

Another plus for dorm living is that you learn how to eliminate your shyness, if you are shy. There are so many people around that it is hard to remain shy for very long. Dorm activities (games, floor parties, etc.) bring everyone together and make them get involved with others.

It is not always easy to get away from people, but it is possible. There is, also, always a shoulder to cry on, if you ever need it. Also, your real family may not be there, but your new "family" - your friends and roommate - are there and give you the security you need. The noise and occasional chaos may even annoy you at first, but according to anyone who has lived in a dorm, it becomes hard to live without it.

The most important thing about living in the dorm is that friendships - very strong ones - grow. They have to grow in an environment where everyone goes through everything together. You see people dressed down or up, in good times or bad, and everything is shared. There is always someone to help and usually a different outlook does make things look a little better.

Lastly, another reason for living on campus is that it is a good way to slowly break away from your family. You will have more independence and learn how to make your own decisions and accept the responsibility for them. A residence hall is more secure than an apartment, and it is easier to adjust to being away from home, especially with so many people around to keep you from feeling alone. There are always people around and social relationships abound. You'll see others in everyday life situations and can become friends without any other pressures. Four years of boarding can be very helpful in ultimately achieving the self-confidence to rely on yourself.

Living at school is one way of getting the most out of college and is a way of learning more than just what you learn in class. You learn how to live with people and how to live on your own. It may cost a little more, but for many, the experience is well worth it.

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