Column, Opinions

Your Housing Appeal Update: With Love, ResLife

It’s Friday afternoon, and life couldn’t be more perfect. Classes are finished for the week, homework is the last thing on your mind, and you can’t stop texting your friends about fun weekend plans. But, for some reason, you decide to check your email, which quickly becomes the worst mistake ever. Waiting in your inbox is an email with the subject line “HOUSING APPEAL UPDATE” in big scary letters. 

Despite the initial fear, you assume the best and feel optimistic. I know this might be naive, but if you’re like me, then you probably poured your heart and soul into that appeal. You wrote about all the reasons why living off campus would be impractical for you—from the daunting price of groceries and other necessities to the cost of gas and whatever potential car repairs may come up. You made it very clear that it would be unsustainable for you in every possible way, supporting all your claims with legitimate reasons. 

Drafting my own appeal, I wrote about how my earnings from last year’s internships were used for this year’s tuition, meaning renting an apartment is simply not possible. Especially with my plans of spending the summer taking classes rather than working my usual two to three jobs, I just can not afford the off-campus housing scramble. 

As you might imagine, I first felt disbelief after opening that email to find a rejection. I had heard other students got their appeals accepted in the past—specifically in one of the transfer panels I attended while touring BC. It was a common theme. As a transfer, you’re only given one year of on-campus housing if you transferred in the fall and one semester if you transferred in the spring of your sophomore year. That limited time frame makes it extremely difficult to find a friend group, let alone one that you’re comfortable enough to rent with. So, it made perfect sense to me that transfers would be more likely to get their appeals accepted.

This is why I descended into a state of panic—one that overshadowed whatever plans I had for the weekend—when I saw the email. I couldn’t stop thinking about how my college experience was over before it even started. To me, the first year as a transfer is full of trial and error, and the second year, when things become more stable, is when life can finally begin. It’s difficult for me to imagine feeling fully connected to campus and friends without that junior-year on-campus housing opportunity. 

When you’re living off campus, you’re less likely to go out of the way for club meetings on the weekends or sports games scheduled after class. It’s no longer a matter of stepping out of your dorm and simply walking to wherever you want to go. Instead, it’s a matter of walking or driving from whatever far-away place you managed to rent and then figuring out if it’s worth the extra time to go to those events anyway. 

Living off campus in just my second year at BC feels undoubtedly negative to me. It’s difficult to find positives when you are as blatantly rejected as I was. 

There is no doubt in my mind that BC should change its housing policies. Transfers have enough struggles without having to worry about finding off-campus housing within eight months of their arrival.

But as the days since I received that email have passed, I’ve slowly started to accept it. Although dorm living definitely has its perks, like being constantly surrounded by friends, it can feel draining at times. When you have to walk around forever to find a private place to talk on the phone or awkwardly have your room checked by ResLife in the middle of the day, it takes its toll. 

Though it is inevitable that I’ll see college through a different lens with off-campus living, it does not mean I’ll be unhappy because of it or … maybe it does, who knows? But the fact is that it’s the next step in my life—even if it is coming sooner than anticipated. Despite the financial and friendship worries, I know I can figure it out. This may be for the better or this may be for the worse, but that is something only the future will know. And while I can’t control BC’s housing policy, I can approach next year with an open mind.

But despite my grand run-in with acceptance, I have learned one concrete lesson: never, ever check your email on a Friday afternoon.

March 19, 2023