OPINION | Freshmen should stay on campus over the weekend
During the week, Lee is a constant bustle of activity—the buzz of people filling the air, the buildings brimming with students and faculty and the days packed with classes and events.
Then the weekend comes around, and the campus is practically a ghost town.
Many students choose to go home over the weekend because they’re homesick or simply because they live close by, but they may be missing out on important aspects of their college experience. Especially for underclassmen, staying on campus on the weekend has many benefits.
At Lee, 48% of the student population live in college-owned, operated or affiliated housing. With almost half the students living on or near campus, there are plenty of opportunities to connect with others.
The weekend is unique. The days stretch ahead with no classes or student working, full of possibility. With no concrete schedule, students are free to explore the campus and the surrounding town to get a feel for what Cleveland has to offer.
For freshmen, having a good community outside of classes is crucial. Making connections and having fun could be the difference between a dropout and a graduate.
According to Washington Post writer Jeffrey J. Selingo, nearly one-third of freshmen seriously consider leaving school during their first year. Selingo said this may be due to loneliness, something that could be combated by community involvement.
“[A] key reform is to force freshmen to engage early on and find their 'tribe' so that they don’t feel lonely—and that should start with where they live,” Selingo said.
By bonding with others in the dorm—whether by doing homework, hammocking in a park or checking out a local coffee shop—freshmen can establish relationships early in their college career.
When students choose to go home for the weekend, especially in the beginning of the semester, it makes it harder to acclimate to campus life. Torn between two worlds, someone who is inclined to homesickness may find it hard to return to school.
When students decide to embrace Lee during and after school hours, they get to experience what is offered beyond the classroom.
It’s difficult to make deep friendships within the confines of class. An hour every few days hardly counts as quality bonding time. Part of the Lee experience is getting involved outside of the classroom. College is about engaging—in dorm life, in school pride, in friendships.
Lee offers various free and enjoyable ways to connect over the weekend. Sporting events, such as soccer or basketball, are a great way to show school spirit and wear those Lee shirts you’ve been accruing since day one. Theatre event tickets are free to students, as are many concerts.
If you’re going to commit to Lee, commit fully. Commit to homesickness, knowing that you can be away from home while being supported from home. Commit to putting yourself out there. Commit to exploring. Commit to boredom.
Having a weekend with little to no plans may lead to the greatest spontaneous adventures you’ll have.