The Benefits of Going to College Close to Home
I went to college three miles from home. Going to a nearby college presents many benefits.
When I started packing for college, my mother said “Just because you’re going to college nearby, don’t expect us to do your laundry or take you grocery shopping.”
That lasted a few weeks. About a month into my freshman year, my parents happened to be shopping at the same grocery store as me and at the same time. It was two miles out of their way, since their usual grocery store was much closer to home. But, they just happened to be in the area. What an amazing coincidence!
From that point onward, they would pick me up at my dorm every weekend and give me a ride to the store. It gave us a chance to catch up. It also was helpful when my father’s job switched computer programming languages to one in which I had significant expertise. We would walk the aisles of the grocery store, chatting about the nuances of Common Lisp and AI algorithms.
My mother never did my laundry, however. My dorm had plenty of functional laundry machines. Later, they were one of the first dormitories nationwide to build a laundry monitoring system, so you could check if machines were free and get notified when your load was done.
People often asked me why I lived in one of the dorms, when I could just as easily have lived at home. I wanted to be immersed in campus life and avoid the commute, which was almost an hour on foot and 30 to 40 minutes by public transportation. I didn’t need to save money because my scholarships and summer jobs covered the cost of living in a dormitory.
These answers didn’t seem to satisfy them. My dorm was the furthest from campus, involving a 10 to 15 minute walk to the main academic buildings. So, I mentioned that my freshman year roommate’s parents lived closer to the college than we did.
Even though I attended a nearby college, I didn’t save money on tuition because it was a private, nonprofit college, not a state school. But, attending an in-state public college would have been a good way to get a great quality education at half the cost.
I knew the area well, having grown up nearby, so friends relied on me for restaurant recommendations. When I got tired of the cafeteria food, I could take a break and visit one of my favorite restaurants or I could take the Red Line to the Green Line and be home in time for a home-cooked meal.