You're driving down Franklin Street, heading back to your room in Morrison, when all of a sudden you reach an end in the road. There’s a sign; it reads, “Halt! No more dorm life. You must live off campus now!”
You're sad, until you remember that the culture of dorm life at UNC has an expiration date, and for most students, their time in the UNC housing community bubble ends in their first or second year.
The expectation of upperclassmen to have their own kitchen, special parking spot on campus and a single bedroom enhances the pressure to get off campus, which, in turn, adds to the housing crisis in Chapel Hill.
Many people, already looking to live off campus, feel even more motivated to do so because of Carolina Housing’s lack of care for students; including but not limited to: inaccessibility, the quality of the dorm and the difficulty surrounding actually securing on-campus housing.
I grew up imagining my whole college career to be shared in a small, cozy dorm, cultivated through aesthetic TV shows I worshiped like Gilmore Girls (Rory’s dorm had a literal fireplace in her common area and bedroom.)
My older siblings all lived in a compact dorm for their entire University experience, and I assumed it was just the norm to stay in a crusty dorm. Perhaps it's due to the economic privilege of some students here, or maybe the ‘networking’ that occurs due to 16,680 undergraduate students being in-state and knowing the area — but things at UNC feel very different.
So I wasn’t surprised when I dialed up my parents and boldly said it’s time to take out a fortune in my savings, I want a living room, they responded quite logically with, you're spoiled if you think you’re going to live in an apartment.
I had a crisis for a few days wondering if I was spoiled to be thinking about living off campus. Was this sudden urge coming from a place of true want or need, or was it due to external pressures?
Regardless, it seemed like everyone I met either had off-campus housing already or was planning on seeking it in the future. The stress of finding housing, let alone deciding what type I wanted was extremely overwhelming.