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A Freshman Perspective on UT Housing


As I walked around the University of Tampa, my stomach bubbled with excitement yet twisted with anxiety. Everything was beautiful, from the minarets of Plant Hall to the cobblestone streets. For some reason, I was panicking — but why? Then it hit me. Everything was so… big. I remembered when I got lost at the University of Florida while attending a Model United Nations conference — twice. There were so many buildings, so many people; everything was overwhelming. Questions raced through my mind: Are my classes going to be too hard or too easy? Will my professors be nice? Am I going to make friends? What if I can’t find my way around? Oh no… am I going to seem like a typical, confused freshman?

Thankfully, these feelings fizzled down after settling in. Move-in day was a hassle after waiting in the hot sun to get all of my belongings in my dorm. Saying goodbye to my family was tough, but meeting my roommate and suitemates made it easier. Luckily, we had been talking throughout the summer and had become friends.  I found all of my classes easier than I initially expected, and only walked into the wrong class once! That was a plus…

A big reason why my transition was so smooth is because of where I live: McKay Hall.

McKay Hall is amazing and I am so fortunate to be able to live here. We have a lot of space, it is cozy, and my bed is surprisingly comfy. Rather than the daunting brick walls, fluorescent lights and cold tile floors I always pictured in my head when I heard the word “dorm,” I have just the opposite. It is perfectly situated on campus, right by Plant Hall and the library, where I always go to do my work. Our community room is gorgeous and the kitchen looks like a real, household kitchen. I often found myself thinking, how did I manage to score such a great hall as only a freshman? That’s when I talked to several upperclassmen who were pretty upset about the situation with a great deal to say about it.

Apparently, freshmen get first choice when it comes to housing. The upperclassmen claimed to be forced out of their dorms, having to get apartments off-campus, and some being pushed to  worse dorms. Though I enjoy living in McKay, I think this housing policy is unfair to the upperclassmen who have been dedicated to the university for so long. Having a comfortable living space is extremely important in college — it’s a space where students study, and the atmosphere in which we study plays a huge role in determining our success. Assuming workload gets tougher as we continue our education here at UT, then the place where we study becomes more and more important. With this in mind, the housing policy at UT isn’t particularly logical.

However, I do understand why the school would want to keep freshmen happy. The transition from high school to college can be tough, and housing arrangements may ease this transition. In addition, retention rate is important for a school to prosper; by giving the freshmen good housing, maybe they’d want to stay the whole four years.

It would be wishy-washy to assume that we make decisions based on the moral good rather than personal, or in this case, business-minded benefit. I believe that the new housing policy is ethically inconsiderate, but effective from a business standpoint. McKay Hall is fantastic, and more upperclassmen should be able to live here.

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