Pool tables in a resident-only lounge, Starbucks coffee machines in the lobby, study areas with Mac computers lining the walls and heated swimming pools with bar stools cemented to the shallow end -- at what point did student housing become similar to luxurious resort-style living at the cost of student refund checks?
The amenities listed above cover only half of what’s offered at some off-campus living apartment complexes for students residing in the vicinity of East Carolina University’s campus.
After being baited into signing my first lease for an apartment early on in my first semester of college, October to be exact, I have come to the realization that luxury student housing is by no means doing a favor for soon-to-be graduates who will be off in the real world after getting a degree (or two).
When students are drawn toward these captivating, seemingly-amazing apartment complexes, targeted toward the individuals who continue to act as if college resembles reality TV, who is left with the bill? Some of these apartment leases range between $800 to $1200 a month in rent, and that’s not even including fees or parking, which in most cases can be up to an additional $60 a month.
I find it hard to believe rent is paid for newly constructed, over-the-top apartment leases merely on a college budget, nonetheless by a single individual alone, which leaves parents picking up the majority of the bill. So, if I may ask, why is it luxury student living is sought out so passionately by 18 through 20-some-year-olds who complain about spending money on textbooks?
Luxury student living is allowing young adults to live the dream while at college, yes, with the extravagant pool parties and resident appreciation week treats such as free breakfasts and finals week care packages, but they are teaching students all the wrong ideas about what it means to live independently.
Think back to the 80s and 90s when parents of Millenials were in college themselves. They didn’t have all the apartment amenities students of today have at their fingertips -- they didn’t have social media either or desire to capture every moment through the lens of a smartphone -- but our parents didn’t need them.
Looking back, the apartments our parents lived in while at university were probably only a quarter as nice as what we deem “just okay,” meaning apartments without the high-quality kitchen appliances, newly-furnished common areas, a balcony and private bathrooms for every private bedroom.
Our parents were humbled by their student housing conditions while they were in college. They didn’t need the over-the-top, fancy additions some college students now want so badly they will refuse to sign a lease if the pool isn’t to their standards or the rooms aren’t newly-renovated.
So why are we putting the idea of luxury student living on a pedestal? Do these partakers who sign for housing at lavish complexes realize the standard they are holding themselves to now will most likely not be what they live in after college?
When these students who spend their college days living in grand, high-end apartments graduate and move back into their parent’s homes, will reality suddenly smack them in the face or will they wish they had never left the designer apartment?
And when students who are so fond of living like college royalty go out to sign a lease by themselves will they be shocked by the realization they cannot afford what their parents paid for, or helped them pay for, while in college?
The idea of luxury off-campus housing is a dream come true for individuals who aspire to live the life portrayed by college students on television, but it is leaving young adults with a skewed concept of reality as to what it truly means to live as an independent being out in the real world.