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Sunday, Mar 3, 2024
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Opinion: Students should be allowed to stay on campus during winter break

Mercer's Residence Life office is located in the Connell Student Center.
Mercer's Residence Life office is located in the Connell Student Center.

Students who pay over $6,000 a year for on-campus housing should be allowed to live in their rooms when they want to. Forcing students to move out during breaks is an unnecessary hassle for everyone involved, and frankly isn’t fully justifiable.

There are many reasons why a student would prefer to stay on campus during the holidays. Some people have established their lives in their college town, and leaving for three weeks disrupts their flow of existence. People with jobs have to take off that time, which means they lose paychecks. Others have less than ideal home lives and would be more physically or mentally secure on campus than wherever they go for the holidays.

Because of the individual, private factors in each student’s life, staying on campus during the holidays should be considered the default. For the purpose of this article, I went online in search of some sort of form to fill out so that Mercer would hypothetically consider allowing me to stay on campus, but I found nothing.

After doing a quick Google search, it looks like there isn’t really a standard as to whether universities allow students to live on campus. It seems as though there is a national belief among universities that students all have somewhere they would willingly go during mandatory breaks from school. This mindset, I feel, is from a time long gone.

Back when people could work one job over the summer to pay for an entire year of school, people were probably more willing to go home from school. Even if their home life was toxic, the benefits from going home could easily outweigh the negatives of going home. Nowadays, going home and working for three weeks over Christmas could maybe pay for a semester’s textbooks, if you’re lucky.

Going home for the holidays can also be a major hassle if people live far away. Plane tickets have to be purchased far in advance to ensure that the student can come home, and the money involved can be a burden on some families. Since students are already paying housing fees for the semester, why can’t that include all of the days up until the first day of class spring semester?

Every year, some of my friends lament about having to go home for the holidays because their families are very difficult to be around. Some people say political opinions are no reason to hold grudges against your family, but that is an inherently privileged stance. When your family openly hates groups that include your friends and acquaintances or even yourself, it can potentially be very damaging to be forced to interact with them for extended periods of time.

Because of all of these factors, universities, including Mercer, should allow students to stay on campus during winter break.


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