By Tasha Mero
HONOLULU — Living on campus can be a brand new experience for some people. Students have the opportunity to find their independence, make lifelong friends or even turn their new room into a home away from home.
There are some people who just love the dorm experience. Regine Raras-Estrella, a sophomore at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, likes living in the dorm community better than living at home. The civil engineering major claims that living in the dorms is much more convenient.
“I consider this my home I love everyone here, I consider them family,” Raras- Estrella said. “It’s a gateway to meet new people. You get the full experience,” Raras Estrella said.
For students who haven’t lived away from home, or have never had a roommate before, living on campus can be a whole new experience. Raras-Estrella claimed that the biggest difference between living at home and in the dorms were the bathrooms.
“I’m not used to sharing, it’s like a public bathroom,” Raras-Estrella said. When Raras-Estrella was asked if she had any suggestions to improve her dorm, the Johnson Hall resident said, “We could have more security. At least one camera by the front door.”
Regardless of which dormitory a student lives in, there are always risks of problems, such as burglary, sexual offenses or motor vehicle theft. According to the online UH crime statistics, in 2011 there were 13 burglaries in the dormitories or other residential facilities, six forcible sexual offenses, and 11 motor vehicle thefts.
Safety in the Dorms
Even though there are always risks of theft, a resident of Hale Laulima and former resident advisor, still feels like her belongings are safe within the dorms. The senior majoring in social work, says that whenever she hears about thefts, it just makes her more cautious.
“When theft does happen, I make sure my door is closed,” the Hale Laulima resident said.
When students move into their dorm room, they will usually meet their resident advisor on the very first day. A resident advisor, or R.A., makes sure that things on their designated floors runs smoothly. They do things such as helping residents with their questions, being there for emotional support and also resolve any conflicts.
Life as a Resident Advisor
A former resident advisor of Hale Laulima, said that being an R.A. is quite different from being a regular resident.
“There’s extra responsibility and higher expectations. You have to be a role model,” the former resident advisor said.
Although being a resident advisor had added responsibilities, it still has its perks because resident advisors get their own room.
“I loved living in by myself,” the former resident advisor said.
Caitlin Maile, a senior and resident advisor in Hale Wainaini, enjoys being an R.A.
“I feel like I’m helping people,” Maile saide.
The chemistry major who lives in the lower campus apartments, claimed that it was hard for her to adjust to being an R.A. at first, but has figured out how to balance everything.
“When you’re an R.A. there’s all these expectations to be the perfect resident. You’re responsible for your residents’ lives,” Maile said.
Type of Dorm Rooms
Students can choose from a variety of different dorms to live in, ranging from single rooms, or double occupancy and some dorms have quadruple occupancy. The costs of dorm rooms depend on what dormitory a student chooses to live in. Single rooms start at $7,000 a year, whereas rooms with double occupancy are approximately $5000 a year.
It also costs more for students who choose to live in dorms where they only have to share the bathroom with their roommates. A room in the Gateway House with two occupants and a shared bathroom will cost around $6000 for the academic year.
Tracie Sakane, a resident of Hale Laulima, thinks that she isn’t really getting her money’s worth while living in the dorms.
“I think they could take care of the building better. We run out of toilet paper and that’s not too expensive for them to buy,” Sakane said.
Although she had some complaints about dorming, the senior majoring in travel industry management, still claimed that she liked living on campus better.
“I like it here because there’s more freedom. You get to meet lots of different people,” Sakane said.
Choosing to live in the dorms can have its ups and downs, but regardless of which dormitory a student chooses, living on campus can give them the opportunity to meet new people from many different places.