Living together on three acres

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All the University College students live on campus,in a setting similar to the environment of the typical Americancolleges. The main difference is that our campus is much smallerand the community much closer than the American ones. The questionarises whether we live here merely because we have to, or do wealso enjoy it?

As a UC student, I can easily tell you: we do enjoy it. Livingon campus is really not that bad and it certainly is not the waysome of the students at Universiteit Utrecht might think it is. Weare not trapped here, isolated completely from the outer world anddevoting all the time available to studying. Oh no, we do leavecampus.

The University College campus is situated very nicely andconveniently between the centre of Utrecht and the Uithof, whichmakes it really easy for us to get there.

We are allowed to leave campus any time we want to and get in atany time of the night, thanks to our electronic keys which enableus also to enter all the academic buildings and get our meals. So,having such facilities, we do leave campus quite often. Of coursethere is not always enough time to make long trips to the cafes inthe town, so then we just stay in our own College Bar. But normallywe do shopping in the city centre, go to Olympus and the library orsimply go out to pubs, restaurants and cafes. We do the things allthe normal students do.

The campus has four main academic buildings, an administrativecentre, several halls of residence and the dining hall whichprovides breakfast, lunch and dinner for students and faculty.Since all the academic buildings and computer facilities arelocated on the grounds of the campus, they are within our easyreach. In order to get to the lectures we do not have to bike forhalf an hour in the rain, we just walk out of our rooms and in 2minutes we are in class. Everything we need can be found on those 3acres, so even if we do not take advantage of the freedom to leavecampus, we still survive. The students live in single rooms inunits of 6 to 10 people. Each unit has bathrooms and a living roomwith a telephone, kitchenette, and television outlet. Once we moveinto our rooms, we can do whatever we want with and in them. It isup to us, but it is also our reponsibility to keep the units androoms in good condition for the next students.

Living together in the units is not an annoying experience. Wedo not get irritated by the same faces seen every morning and weget along with each other pretty well. We even manage to arrangesome reasonable cleaning schedules for the units, whichunfortunately do not always work the way they should. Livingtogether with our unit mates gives usunique opportunities to get toknow each other better and to develop close bonds. The randomlyassigned unit mates become your family for a whole year, until youhave to change your unit to explore new people, their habits andcharacters.

Parties

The pace and style of campus life varies from person to personand from time to time. There are moments of great activity andmovement, as well as periods of quiet and concentrated study. Everysemester starts in a really active way with lots of parties,meetings and going out. The closer the end of semester and thefinal papers and exams are, the quieter the campus becomes and theatmosphere of studying starts to prevail. This is simply the way anormal student life goes, also at UC. However, unlike otherstudents, we have quite many assignments and exams within thesemester itself. Nevertheless, we try to relax and have fun oncampus. We have our own College Bar, and a special Party Committeewhich takes care of all the big parties, like the welcome partiesat the beginning of the semesters or some other big events. LastFebruary we even had our first Prom.

The students have also their own initiative and organise manyparties by themselves without all the official committees. Therehave been numerous birthday parties, wine parties, dance parties,cooking parties. It is even hard to enumerate all of them. Livingtogether on three acres has also other advantages. We become greatfriends with other people, but sometimes there is also somethingmore. Because we meet each other almost every day and night, manycouples form among the students. Thus the student life on campusbecomes much more vivid and interesting than the normal studentlife at university.

Being such a close-knit community as we are, of course we havesome problems, but we cope with them quite well and the generalimpression of life on campus is really positive. If you still donot believe us, just come to the College Bar on any Wednesday nightand you will meet half of us there, enjoying our time and notworrying all that much about the excessive work load.

Julia Zamorska