Upper-year students aren’t made to feel at home in Queen’s residences

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Despite the steep price, first-year residences have long proven valuable experiences for students adjusting to living on their own. 
 
But as students age beyond first year, the benefits of Queen’s residence living don’t quite outweigh the costs.
 
An opinion recently published in The Varsity celebrates the positive aspects of residence life, from making close friends, to living near classes, without acknowledging its drawbacks for older students.
 
It’s true that living on campus in your first year at university can certainly ease the transition to living away from home.
 
Meal plans are helpful for students who can’t cook for themselves. Being surrounded by peers going through the same transition can help new students develop strong friendships. Residence dons are a wonderful resource for first-year students who need support.
 
After first year, many who move into student housing find it more affordable and develop crucial life skills, such as learning to cook, clean, and pay monthly bills. Residence doesn’t teach those skills or offer that independence. 
 
But for some upper-year and graduate students, renting a student house isn’t an appealing option, or even one at all.  
 
International students often find it unreasonable to buy furniture in Kingston and move it back and forth. Other students struggle to find housemates or leases in good time before starting school. 
 
That’s why older students who need to live in university residences are entitled to a living experience that facilitates the same development they would get living off-campus, without costing an arm and a leg.
 
Currently, rooms are reserved in Jean Royce Hall and Smith House residences for these students, but Queen’s doesn’t have dedicated on-campus residences for upper-years, and there are no residence options that don’t include paying for a meal plan. 
 
However, being forced to pay for cafeteria meals they no longer need, and adhering to the strict rules of residence overall, is a serious deterrent for upper-year and graduate students looking to live on campus.
 
Furthermore, paying for housing and food in two large installments, as residence bills require, as opposed to paying monthly rent, can prove difficult for students paying their own ways.
 
Upper-year residence spaces resembling apartment-style living, available without meal plans and with more flexible payment options, would make residence more accessible and enjoyable beyond first year. 
 
Currently, Queen’s residences aren’t worth their cost for upper-year and graduate students. While additional services, such as cleaning and meal plans, are designed to benefit first-year students, the University fails to adequately accommodate older students seeking more independence on campus. 
 
These students should have access to residence options that better reflect their needs and priorities.
 
 

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