Jack Sweeney


Last week we ran a story about the recent destruction happening in Mathias, and I have a theory on what might drive a student to rip down that pesky exit sign on a Friday night.

CC, as you may know, requires students to live in on-campus housing either for three years or until the student reaches senior standing.

When I did a tour here roughly two years ago, one of the reasons the guides cited for the on-campus requirement was to create an integrated sense of community. I didn’t think much of it to be honest.

However, after approximately 14 blocks in the dorms, I’ve noticed that it’s difficult for both my friends and myself to find an escape. I think there is some truth in the duality of the phrase “too much of a good thing.”

In an article that he wrote for The Atlantic entitled “The Health Risks of Small Apartments,” Jacoba Urist suggests that “home is supposed to be a safe haven, and a resident with a demanding job may feel trapped in a claustrophobic apartment at night—forced to choose between the physical crowding of furniture and belongings in his unit, and social crowding, caused by other residents, in the building’s common spaces.”

In addition, the article cites that cramped living spaces could lead to potential issues with substance abuse.

Maybe the lights and bathroom signs that are regularly ripped from the walls of Mathias aren’t just part of some cruel inside joke—I think maybe the perpetrators are rattling the cage.

Regardless of the causes, there’s no debating that off-campus life has been changing. Parties are widely discouraged. As much as I enjoy the Midnight Breakfasts and similar events put on by the school, there’s something about the charm of an off-campus party that can’t quite be matched.

If you’re currently a parent and concerned about that last statement, allow me to support my point.

Do house parties function as a space to serve alcohol to your underage sons and daughters? Yes.

But there’s more going on in those swamped houses. These are crucial social interactions that provide a venue for unbridled live music, a place to talk about school while simultaneously feeling independent from campus, catch up with friends lost in the cracks of the block plan—a place to let off steam. Unfortunately, the days of the house party are gone.

So as I sit in my cramped dorm room and write this, I’m thinking about my third year of on-campus life coming up. And, let’s be honest, chances of getting an apartment look slim.

My sophomore and junior friends attending other schools regularly tell me about the joys and struggles of off-campus life. Their power getting shut off. Doing dishes. Real, police-involved noise complaints.

I don’t even know what a lease looks like, let alone a cable bill.

Here we are at a school that preaches independence, but also employs workers to clean up our vomit for three years.

This school is becoming more and more of an all-inclusive island resort. I deal with some anxiety problems, and sometimes it feels like I can’t escape CC. Cue “Hotel California.”

In the residential life section of CC’s website, there is a quote from former editor-in-chief of the Catalyst, Jesse Paul, commenting, “when I moved into my off-campus house in August, I started to lament the fact that I only had one year to make memories in our lovable, blue home.”

I want the opportunity to live in a home for more than a year. Our lives shouldn’t be dictated by housing lotteries.

The CC website boasts the residential halls as “oases.” As much as I identify myself as a CC student, I feel that a desire for some differentiation between the self and college is a healthy response.

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