Should I stay or should I go?



Columnist Baxter makes the case for students staying on UNI’s campus. The school, Baxter says, has a “suitcase” reputation.

NICOLE BAXTER, Opinion Columnist

As the weekend approaches, many of your fellow students will pack their duffle bags and make the trek home for the weekend. Considering UNI has the reputation of being a “suitcase school”, it is no secret that Friday through Sunday the campus population significantly drops, but why? If college is the time to be independent and opportunistic, then why is so much of the student body running back to their hometowns on the weekends?

Perhaps people are so eager to go home because they miss their family, highschool friends or their sweetheart. Or maybe they just get bored on campus and can find nothing better to do. There are numerous reasons people decide to go home, but are those trips down the highway every five days costing you more than a quarter-tank of gas?

Jillian Kinzie, an associate director of the Center of Postsecondary Research and National Survey of Student Engagement Institute, was interviewed by the New York Times regarding students who leave campus on the weekends. She happens to see a correlation between those who go home often and their academic success. “The reality is that the less engaged students are, the more likely they are to leave, to drop or to do poorly in courses,” said Kinzie.

She goes on to say that those particular students who do not take full advantage of the collegiate lifestyle are missing out and “have a just-kind-of-not-so-great college experience.”

Although it is much quieter on the weekends at UNI, with the desolate dining centers and vacant hallways, there is no shortage of things to keep busy with. Friday nights are filled with club meetings, comedy shows and residence hall events; Saturday offers many athletic events, theater and musical performances, and of course, there is always the option to venture down to the Hill and check out what is happening at the pubs!

Whatever activity that catches your eye, it is truly best to stay on campus. Fight the urge to go home and reminisce with family and friends as long as possible. The comfort they offer is great, but this is a vital time in our lives to practice self-reliance. Going home so mom or dad can cook a nice meal and do your laundry does not help you grow.

At home, there is limited opportunity to branch out and meet new people. Stepping out of your comfort zone and socializing is beneficial towards your own happiness and future career. Employers look for people who can easily adapt to new environments and interact with coworkers. By going home, being around family and close friends all weekend, you miss the chance to be challenged which can hugely advance your social and academic life.

As Kinzie said, staying on campus makes your experience better. Meeting new friends is a huge part of what can make or break your perception of college. Involvement is key, but resting is equally as important. For most, courses keep them rather occupied throughout the week and the weekend is a time to relax with peers.

Sophomore Collin Burns shares his reason for staying on campus, saying he sticks around, “Mainly because I’ve created great friendships here and being able to hang with friends and go out is what I look forward to at the end of my busy week.”

Many students, like Collin, enjoy the tranquility of the campus, but admit that it does get a little boring with so few people around. “It would be nice to run into new people and make more friends, but I understand why people go home. I knew UNI was a suitcase college before I came here, but it doesn’t affect my weekend too much. It would just be nice to see some different faces around.”

With the question of “Should I stay or should I go?” running through your mind on Friday afternoon, I encourage you to consider all that you are actually missing out on by going home. Be strong and step out of your shell. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy, just be open to trying new things and meeting new people.