By Kassidy Weemhoff | Echo
A fruit-themed house and a farmhouse chic apartment are where you can find some Taylor seniors living this year.
Whether in an apartment of in off-campus housing, moving out of a dorm for senior year can be a healthy and enjoyable transition. Some off-campus and apartment dwelling seniors admit there are pros and cons to both living on campus and moving off.
Katie Franz and Abby Crump are two seniors who live in a house of eight girls about a block off campus. Their house, dubbed "The Watermelon House" because of its green exterior and pink shutters, has been transformed into a cozy space for entertaining and developing deeper relationships, according to Franz.
"Even our kitchen reflects the theme because half of our kitchen cabinets are hot pink," said Franz. "It's a very colorful house and it's not a normal house by any means. We have really just loved and embraced that name. . . . We have watermelon cooking pads and watermelon cups and a sign that says hashtag Watermelon House on our door and a welcome mat."
Franz, Crump and their six other housemates chose to live in this spunky home because it was more convenient for them. The girls knew they all wanted to live together, so sharing a space while balancing rent, utilities and groceries has made it the cheaper option as well.
There are many reasons students choose to live off campus. According to Director of Residence Life Scott Barrett, reasons vary from personal preference to a desire to further themselves from Taylor's campus in hopes of getting to know a specific set of friends better.
"We approve students mainly based on educational program requirements (i.e. social work and student teaching), specific medical needs, and at times based on campus housing capacity issues," said Barrett.
Instead of going completely off Taylor's campus, some students transition into the apartments at the north
edge of campus: Campbell Hall and Wolgemuth Hall. These apartment complexes are owned and operated by Taylor staff, and the room and board cost is the same as living in a dorm. However, meal plans are flexible and many students enjoy the independence they offer.
Senior Sara Bergen lives in Campbell Hall with three other girls, and says the apartments are far enough off campus to be independent. However, she admits she sees more people than she would if she lived off-campus. There are many things she thoroughly enjoys about her apartment lifestyle.
"I lived on Second Center Olson all three years and had a phenomenal time, but now I am truly living the dream with a kitchen ten feet from my bed and more than just a 10' by 15' room to call my own space," Bergen said. "Oh, and we control the temperature."
Bergen also loves cooking with her friends and having quiet time without pressure to go out on the weekends. With plants and pillows everywhere, she and her friends have enjoyed styling their space on a budget.
Independence is thrilling, but these upperclassmen still have things they miss about living with multiple other people. Bergen misses being able to find a friend around every corner, Franz misses wing events and getting to know the freshmen and Crump misses spiritual life events as well as the encouraging environment.
"There are pros and cons to both staying on campus as a senior and moving off," said Crump. "Both are good in different ways so as people come upon that decision, either one they choose is going to be good."
However, Crump, Franz and Bergen all recommend living off campus. To them, it is a time of transition between college life and the real world.
Barrett said he always encourages students to carefully and thoughtfully consider their transition. It's important, he says, to be moving towards something and not running away from it.
"I say, if you have a group of people you love and want to continue to invest in, off campus living is awesome and I highly recommend it," said Crump.
Franz and Crump agreed that the experience of living in a house was both fun and restful for the group residing there.
The girls insist that off campus students can still be part of the Taylor community, although a common misconception is that students are completely disconnected.
"I love living in the Watermelon House because I feel like I'm able to be seen and to also create a space for others to have a home away from their dorm home," said Franz. To have people get the home environment while being around college students has been really fun to provide that for people and hopefully continue to do so."